Former local cricketer Charles Dagnall is now one of the top voices on BBC radio's iconic Test Match Special. Ahead of the Cricket World Cup he tells Graham Hardcastle about his remarkable journey from being a local league player in Bolton. In this second of a three-part series he tells how he made the transition from player to journalist

CHARLES Dagnall has revealed how a cricket-loving BBC newsreader kick-started his post-cricket career in broadcasting, which this weekend sees him make his World Cup debut.

The Bolton man developed a love for leather and willow in the Bolton Association and Bolton League before signing a county contract with Warwickshire in 1998.

Injury cut short his professional career 10 years ago, but the 38-year-old is still immersed in the game behind the BBC microphone.

“If you asked me at 20 years old, all I wanted to be was a professional cricketer with no idea after that,” said the Heaton man who learned the game in Bolton's two amateur leagues.

“I went to University (UMIST in Manchester), but I was never going to work as a chemist.

“When I was at Warwickshire, Nick Owen used to come down to Edgbaston and watch the first session of the county day and then go off to Pebble Mill and do Midlands Today TV.

“We got chatting, and he invited me down to watch a show go out.

“I hadn’t had any thoughts at all about the future, but I went down and enjoyed it. The thing that really stuck with me was the radio studio. I saw live programming going out, and a light bulb went off. I loved it.

“When I went to Leicestershire (2002), the local station interviewed me as a new player and asked was there anything else I was interested in.

“I said radio, and within a week, they gave me a cricket show.

“In the winter times, instead of going abroad playing to Australia, New Zealand or South Africa like I did earlier in my career, I went into the station voluntarily and just learnt.

“Immediately after packing in [playing] at 28, I was in there on a freelance basis, and that was it.”

Dagnall has also commentated on rugby union and another of his passions, American football, and he covered international cricket tournaments such as the Champions Trophy and World Twenty20 before making his Test debut on the famous Test Match Special last summer.

“Test Match Special was something I always wanted to do, growing up with the great voices, Jonathan Agnew, Brian Johnston, Tony Cozier, Jim Maxwell, Henry Blofeld, etc,” he said.

“Right at the start, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it.

“I did some weird stuff, Saturday morning shows 9am-12pm, drive time shows, news, the lot, but that helped me learn and set me up.

“It is dreams-come-true stuff, of course, but I’d like to think I’ve worked pretty hard.”