PEARS all-rounder Matthew Waite believes a six-week stint in South Africa last winter was a major part in him going onto play his most ever first-class cricket in a county season.
Waite played in the opening 11 LV=Insurance County Championship matches of the 2023 campaign and was a key performer in clinching promotion to Division One.
He put previous injury setbacks when at Yorkshire behind him and only an end of season groin niggle prevented him from completing a full set of Championship appearances.
Waite says the spell in Cape Town from the end of January to early March helped with that process and he also featured in seven Metro Bank One Day Cup matches and two Vitality Blast fixtures for the Rapids.
He scored a total of 565 Championship runs at an average of 35.31 and also picked up 26 wickets as he slotted effectively into his middle order role with the bat and coming on first or second change with the ball.
Waite said: “After my history, it was nice to be able to play so much cricket. To get through 11 Championship games and seven One Day Cup games and play a couple of T20 matches, I’m really pleased with it.
“I think a big thing is I went to South Africa off my own back in the winter.
“I went out there and built my overs up outside rather than indoors because in the past I always seemed to pick up something like a foot injury or a bruised ankle indoors.
“I went away to build things up, and then just try and hit the ground running when I got back to Worcestershire, and it paid off.
“I got some good loads into my body and came back and felt in a good place. It definitely served its purpose, and I was pleased to be able to contribute for Worcestershire in a successful season.
“It’s great to have that confidence in your body. I think being older helps, being more used to it, and just having more overs under my belt, and hopefully it stays that way.
“Until the groin injury at the end of the season, I couldn’t have asked for anymore really.
“It will give me confidence going into next season and it will only help having this under my belt now, and the workloads. Hopefully I can build on it again in 2024.
“Next year if I can be a bit more consistent with the ball, and put it together with my batting, I’ll be happy with that.”