David Wiese: I'm keeping my eye on the ball for Sussex - and it's paying off

David Wiese hits out on his way to a score of 171 against Hampshire / Picture by www.yasps.co.uk
David Wiese hits out on his way to a score of 171 against Hampshire / Picture by www.yasps.co.uk

It’s been satisfying to score the runs I have in this year’s one-day competition and to help the team win some games, but ultimately we had a good opportunity to qualify for the play-offs this year and it’s disappointing that we haven’t.

In a short tournament, momentum is key, and after a strong start I felt there was a shift after we came so close in the Hampshire match. After that we lost a bit of momentum and it is difficult to turn that around.

Something that sticks in my mind from my record innings in that match is a comment the coach made as I walked out to bat. There were a few runs to get with us struggling at 74 for 4 and chasing 356 to win and Dizzy said: “Just 130 will do today, David”.

I didn’t think anything of it and I took the approach of just making the most of spending some time in the middle, something I haven’t always been able to do during my career coming in in the lower order as a bit of a dasher.

When the runs started to come, I said to myself, “you don’t miss out today”. Winning the game didn’t really cross my mind, it was about making the most of an opportunity and proving to myself that I could score big runs.

I reached 50, I was batting well with Browny, things clicked and then all of a sudden I found myself on a hundred – something I hadn’t done in one-day cricket for nearly 12 years – and from there it was a bit of a blur.

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The runs kept coming. Suddenly you could sense the Hampshire guys were turning on each other; shouting at each other when they bowled a bad ball.

The game had been a write off, but now they were panicking and that’s when you know you’re in with a shout.

In the end we didn’t quite do enough, and it was a weird feeling having been so out of it to then feel like we should have won. That was a tough pill to swallow. I actually felt fine physically the next day, but emotionally I was drained.

At the time, I hadn’t even realised I’d broken the record for Sussex’s highest individual one-day innings, but it’s a nice thing to have. I still feel there is a stigma surrounding Kolpak players coming to the English game, and a perception that they are just chasing the pound.

But we still want to do the best we can for the county we’re representing, so it’s nice to be have big performances and that record as evidence you’ve come here to contribute positively to the team.

From a personal point of view, it has been one of the best tournaments of my life. It’s an old cliché but it is true that as you get older you get to know your game better, but I’ve also benefitted from a winter where I got to play a couple of T20 competitions, work with different coaches and get a different perspective on the game.

It sounds pretty weird, but the main thing I learnt was that I wasn’t actually watching the ball when I bat. You’d have thought that’s a pretty fundamental part of the game, but it’s amazing how often you think you’re doing something when actually other things are taking your focus away from it.

Since then, I’ve kept things as simple as possible: watch the ball, react to the ball. It seems to have been quite a good recipe for success so far.

There is a bit of time before our next match now. My wife and I love to travel and we had looked at getting away for a few days, but it’s a bit difficult to do things last minute with a South African passport.

I Googled it, and there are 101 countries we can travel to visa-free. Out of those, Russia was the best option! We did look at a long weekend in Moscow or St Petersburg, but in the end we’ve decided to stay and relax here in Hove.

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