Cape Town - Despite picking what looks to be a very well balanced squad at the Mzansi Super League (MSL) player draft last month, the Paarl Rocks team always seemed light of an out-and-out finisher in the middle to late order of their batting line-up.
But with opening batsman and T20 globetrotter, Cameron Delport, unavailable for a large chunk of the tournament due to commitments in the Dubai T10, his replacement, former Proteas all-rounder David Wiese, will be looking to fill the void of what has become commonly known as the finisher, one who comes in at the back end of the innings with the sole purpose of smashing the ball out of the park at a very high strike-rate.
The names of Durban Heat’s David Miller and Nelson Mandela Bay Giants' Chris Morris immediately come to mind when one thinks of examples of finishers.
When Paarl Rocks coach Adrian Birrell was quizzed at the team's first media day a few weeks ago, he admitted that it was a bit of an issue.
“Yes, there is that, but we had to have a strategy of how we were going to go about things and our first strategy was spin, our next strategy was death bowling and then we went for batters. But we have guys like (Dwayne) Bravo, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Patrick Kruger and Grant Thompson who can all clear the ropes at the back end of the innings,” he said at the time.
However, Birrell will sleep easier at night now that they have secured the services of Wiese and hard hitting Aussie batsman, Michael Klinger, who will replace Irish batsman Paul Stirling.
“I’m very excited to join the Paarl Rocks and be part of the inaugural MSLT20. I’ve had a little time off after the UK season and not coming back here (to SA) to play four-day cricket for the Titans has given me a bit of time off to rest up and get the body fresh again. You miss being on the park and competing when you’re not playing so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and make an impact for the Paarl Rocks,” the 33 year-old Wiese said.
When asked what his role in the team would be, Wiese, who plays for Sussex in England, said that he would like to add value on and off the field.
“Obviously being one of the more experienced players in the squad means that I can impart some of my knowledge to the younger guys and help them to become better. I also hope to make an impact with both bat and ball at the back end of the innings. Hopefully I can clear the rope and hit some sixes when the team needs me. Bravo is a very skilful bowler and Dane Paterson is arguably one of the best death bowlers in the country,” he said.
If Wiese can add to his tally of 137 wickets in the 172 T20 games he’s played thus far and provide the Paarl Rocks with impetus at the back end of the innings with his career strike-rate of 145.56, the Boland Park-based team might just be a force to be reckoned with in the tournament.
The Paarl Rocks play their first match in the MSL on Sunday at home against AB de Villiers’ Tshwane Spartans at 15:30.