23rd Sep, 2019

Riki: Pears have given me a new lease of life

Rob George 28th Mar, 2019

NEW PEARS signing Riki Wessels revealed the move to New Road has given him a ‘new lease of life’ as he relishes the challenges ahead with his new charges.

The 33-year-old batsman made the move from Nottinghamshire in the winter after 14 years in the East Midlands which also included a spell at Northamptonshire.

“I fancied a fresh start, to keep myself going and be inspired to keep playing and there’s no better place to do it at such a lovely ground,” Wessels said.

“They’re a good bunch of young guys and I feel like I can leave something at the club and leave it in a better place than when I got here.

“It’s given me a new lease of life, an enjoyment of cricket again. I think when you turn up to the same place everyday day in, day out, you take it a bit for granted.”

Wessels initially arrived on the county circuit as a wicketkeeper-batsman but found his opportunities behind the stumps limited at Trent Bridge with former England keeper Chris Read often donning the gloves.

“I enjoy the fielding part of the game, it was something I had to do at Notts when Chris Read was keeping. I couldn’t keep so I had to make myself as good a batsman and fielder as I could,” he said.

The 33-year-old hopes his role in the Pears’ batting order will see him out in the middle with some of the club’s lesser experienced players. Despite his big-hitting exploits in one-day cricket, Wessels highlighted his desire to succeed in Championship cricket and help the club win promotion to cricket’s top flight at the first attempt.

“Red ball cricket is always something I have enjoyed; most people see me as the white ball slogger which is fine but I still hold Championship cricket close to my heart,” he said.

“I still have the love for four days of pain in the field and long may that last.”

Worcestershire go into the new campaign with impressive form in the one-day game and looking to defend their Vitality Blast title while they will also be among the favourites to secure one of three promotion spots from Division Two of the County Championship.

“Having been underdogs for the last few years you have nothing to lose. It’s quite a difficult mentality to shake,” said Wessels. “Obviously sides will now want to beat us in all formats because they realise our strength.

“It’s going to be difficult. There will be new challenges and experiences and that’s something we have to cope with as a team.”

And when asked to sum up his new team-mates, Wessels joked: “Bad dress sense, tight clothing, ridiculous music and haircuts and so young! But such a good group of guys and very close together.”

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