Staffordshire new signing Riki Wessels believes he can bring in new ideas to help make positive changes at the county for the 2022 season.
The 36-year-old has signed a white-ball deal with Staffordshire, and will play both 20 & 50 over cricket for the county. Wessels, who has played over 200 First-Class games, left Worcestershire last season and linked up with NSSCL Premier Division outfit Longton.
His arrival at Longton was a successful one, with an outstanding 126 on debut against Bagnall Norton. He finished the season with 568 runs at an average of 63.11 in all competitions.
Now he is looking to bring that experience to both Staffordshire and Longton, where he has agreed to play for the 2022 season. Wessels said: “Being available to talk to the guys on and off the field about cricket and plans around how to do things will help.
“I’m more than happy to share what I’ve learnt during my professional career to hopefully help others reach their goals. It helps to get someone from the outside in with new ideas or taking on what they see and hopefully make positive changes.”
Staffordshire have struggled in T20 cricket of late, and the Australian-Englishman is looking to keep things simple in the format.
He said: “Plans don’t always work in T20 cricket. The game is quick, and there isn’t always time to go to plan b or c. The ability to stay calm when you are under pressure allows you to make the best decisions.
“Equally, when batting or bowling, the longer you stick to your basic skills the better. There is not much point outthinking yourself before each ball.”
The 36-year-old is also aiming to pass on his knowledge to the players at Longton. “I’d be happy to pass on as much knowledge as possible to the guys so that they can carry on getting better over the next few seasons,” he added. I’m not going to play forever, so It’s important that when I am playing I set an example.”
Wessels has played all around the world since his professional debut in 2004. As he approaches the end of his cricketing career, he started his own fitness company during lockdown.
“The season was delayed during the pandemic and I’m getting older so I needed to do something with myself. I am pretty familiar with gyms having spent a good few winters getting ready for upcoming seasons and tournaments,” he commented.
“I like the idea of helping others succeed. Working closely with all sorts of goals and getting stronger, fitter and healthier is really fun to do. It is always easier when someone is helping you, so that is online or in person.”
After a 17 year professional career, Wessels is looking forward to spending more time with his family.
He says he will miss professional cricket in the future: “I’m sure at some point I will. I still feel as though I could play but that’s out of my hands. The travelling all over the world was amazing at times but it did have it’s downsides. Missing the kids birthdays and milestones are things I can never get back.
“I equally don’t want to sound ungrateful for the opportunities I’ve had and I appreciate many would have died for them. It comes down to what you value most in life and I’m sure if I had my wife and kids with me for some of the trips, it would have been even better.
“I’ve enjoyed where I’ve gone and what I’ve done and now I get to make up for lost family time now.”