Test Match Sofa
Wessels the bowler keen to do more
By Dave Bracegirdle
Desperate times call for desperate measures and it doesn’t often come more desperate than asking a wicketkeeper to have a bowl.
Needing all ten Sussex wickets on the final day of their LV= County Championship match at Trent Bridge, Nottinghamshire ran in to a brick wall as openers Chris Nash and Ed Joyce took their partnership beyond the 200 mark.
With none of the main five Notts bowlers able to conjure up the important breakthrough, skipper Chris Read lobbed the ball to Riki Wessels, a keeper by trade but used only as a batsman normally, due to the consistency of Read himself with the gloves.
“I only had about three balls' notice before I came on,” said Wessels, after bowling his first overs for Nottinghamshire. “I was joking really when I told Ready that I was ready for a bowl, and he said, “OK off you go!”
Wessels began with a tidy maiden and his initial seven-over spell before lunch cost only 24 runs. “I do bowl a bit in the nets and usually get slogged away but it came out quite nicely for me,” he said.
He does have a spot of previous, however, having delivered three ineffective overs for Northants between 2008 and 2009 and then another ten in Zimbabwe during the 2009-10 winter when he picked up his only previous first-class wickets. Both were notable scalps, Test batsmen Charles Coventry and Dion Ebrahim - but since those successes, in January 2010, Wessels the bowler had been kept under wraps.
“Yes, I bowled a bit for Mid West Rhinos when Dizzy (Jason Gillespie) was coach. For some reason he seemed to like the idea of me bowling!” added Wessels.
As Sussex came ever closer to saving the game at Trent Bridge, Wessels was given a second spell, with a glorious pay-off as Luke Wells, on 59, drilled the ball straight back at the 26-year old for a routine caught and bowled. Whether Wells thought it was a bump ball, or whether he was just distraught at getting out, he took some shifting and had to be sent on his way by umpire Michael Gough.
“We had a bit of a joke in the first innings that, after he got out, it was the slowest walk off we’d ever seen but I think he managed to beat that in the second innings,” smiled the happy bowler. Wessels’ action suggested a bit of off spin but he claimed there was more than one string to his bow, learnt during a season with Nondescripts in Sri Lanka.
“The off spinner wasn’t doing much but the other one was going quite a way. Funnily enough, I learnt how to do that during a season with the Sri Lankan boys. I played with Suraj Randiv and spent a bit of time in the nets with him, messing around really.”
Earlier this season Somerset’s Craig Kieswetter threw off the pads to take a couple of first-class wickets against Worcestershire at New Road and now Wessels, a fully paid-up member of the wicketkeepers' union, is hoping for more opportunities with the ball.
“It would be nice to do it more often,” he said. “Apart from anything else, it would be something to help keep me interested in the field as well.”
Terms & Conditions
Developed by Proximity Solutions
Proximity PS Web
2007 - 2013