Sussex haven’t had the best of luck with overseas players this season – but the arrival of South African David Wiese for the remainder of the summer looks like a shrewd bit of business.
The county have lacked a true all-rounder – someone good enough to bat in the top six and bowl – since captain Luke Wright stopped bowling because of persistent knee trouble in 2013. The days when Robin Martin-Jenkins was balancing their all-conquering line-up of the last decade seem an awful long time ago.
In that regard Wiese fits the bill. The 31-year-old has a first-class average of 36 and is good enough to have scored one double and nine hundreds in South African domestic cricket for Titans.
Although Wiese has gilded his reputation in one-day cricket – he has played six ODIS and 20 T20 internationals and arrived back at Hove following a stint in the Caribbean Premier League – his coach Mark Davis believes he can make a difference in red-ball cricket.
“He’s been in the IPL and the Caribbean Premier League either side of playing a few games for us at the start of our T20 Blast, so he hasn’t played any red-ball cricket for a while,” said Davis.
“But he can adapt and his record speaks for itself with bat and ball. He is good enough to take the new ball and gives our batting order some depth as well.”
Wiese made his Championship debut against second division leaders Essex at Colchester today (Thursday) and was due to bat at No.7.
With Chris Jordan next in the order and another debutant Jofra Archer, who is a very handy batsman as well, at No.9 there is suddenly some depth to Sussex’s middle order.
Davis says the county ‘have drawn a line under their disappointing one-day season which saw them fail to qualify for the knockout stages of either the Blast or the Royal London One-Day Cup.
And he feels there is still time to salvage something from the season by finishing the Championship campaign strongly.
They started the Essex game 42 points behind their opponents but do have a game in hand and Davis knows that a couple of positive results could make all the difference.
He said: “It’s a very important part of the season now. We’ve been on the rough end of the weather a couple of times and we’ve had to bat well on occasion to save games but we’re still unbeaten in the Championship and I think we have got the opportunity now to play positive cricket and give ourselves the chance of finishing strongly.”
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