Wernars Looking To Make Big Impression At Sussex
South African Kirk Wernars, a relatively unheralded all-rounder from Western Province, is heading into his first season of county cricket with Sussex in high spirits.
He impressed the 2009 Twenty20 Cup winners when he played against them for a Cape Cobras Emerging Players side in 2010 in Dubai and subsequently signed for them along with Lou Vincent and Naved Arif.
It is a story that has echoes of Kevin Pietersen’s famed performance for Natal against England - the country he would go on to play for - in 1999.
Right now though, thoughts of international cricket are on hold for the former Under-19 international as he tries to make a name at Hove and he has settled into the family environment at Sussex nicely.
"It's been fantastic," he told Cricket World when asked about his pre-season with the club. "I first joined them on the 24th March, I had about a week with them to meet all the guys and get a bit of cricket under the belt.
"Then from there I flew over to Gatwick and to Hove with the guys. It's been fantastic and obviously we've had the one game now against Lancashire, but the lead up to that's been brilliant.
"It's been a brilliant time, all the guys have been fantastic, a lot of professional cricketers there at Sussex and they have taken me on as well. It's been great for me as a cricketer to be in a set up like this."
Sussex opened their campaign back in the LV= County Championship Division One following promotion last year with a disappointing innings-and-55-run loss at the hands of Lancashire - a team coached by former Sussex man Peter Moores.
"Obviously what happened against Lancashire isn't ideal but it does happen to sides and it does happen to good sides," a philoshopical Wernars said. "I do believe now the only way is forward, from a game like that you can only get better, I think the boys will learn from an experience like that.
"Obviously it's not ideal up front, but a side like Sussex look to have the bounce back ability so will come back strong against Durham."
And despite the setback, Sussex have not ruled out a tilt at adding to their trophy cabinet which is already brimming thanks to three Championship successes in 2003, 2006 and 2007.
"Obviously we believe that we want to stay in the division one with the championship cricket. Whenever you're in division one you have a chance at the championship title, so that is a goal obviously. And then in the one dayers and the Twenty20s we definitely back ourselves and we'll be hoping to win some trophies there."
Wernars, when asked his view on the Proteas’ disappointing exit from the 2011 World Cup, again painted a positive picture for the future.
"It was a bit up and down, obviously the guys had a very strong side, and a side that melded well together. [They were] just unfortunate to go out the way that we did, but I think South African cricket is very strong and believe they will always be contenders for the number one side in the world for ODI and test cricket.
"Obviously a lot of people have put the chokers label on them, I think the guys just need to go out and play as their natural selves and their natural game and not worry about anything else, other than what they're doing on the field."
© Cricket World 2011