Cricketer, coach and pundit. Kepler Wessels turns 59 today and is our Legend of the Week, brought to you by Aquavita.
We’ve heard him give his thought-provoking opinions on live television, but what makes his comments so valid is his diverse experience as a cricketer.
Wessels was a left-hand batsman who is the only player in history to have scored Test centuries and 1 000 runs for two Test-playing nations and the first cricketer to play ODI’s for two countries. Born in Bloemfontein, Wessels went on to represent two cricketing rivals Australia and South Africa, displaying an illustrious career for both. At the tender age of 21, an important stage in his development, Wessels sought game time abroad due to South Africa’s isolation from competitive international cricket during the Apartheid regime.
On his debut, Wessels became the first ever South African to play for the side and the thirteenth player to score a century on debut when Australia played England in 1982. He went on to play 24 matches for Australia scoring 1 761 at an average of 42.95 scoring four centuries and nine half-centuries before retiring in 1985.
After South Africa’s return to the international cricket scene, Wessels made his comeback in 1992 to captain the national side as well as the World Cup side in the same year. Just like he did for Australia, he hit a century in his first match against England, scoring 105 to lead his team to victory at Lord’s in 1994. This was South Africa’s first series in England since 1965 and it saw him retire after a 1-1 series draw, ending his short 16-match career with two centuries and six fifties racking up 1 027 runs at an average of 38.03.
He had a mammoth First-Class career playing for seven sides, participating in 316 matches scoring 24 738 including 66 hundreds and 126 fifties at an average of 50.58.
After retirement Wessels coached the English county side Northamptonshire from 2003 to 2006. In 2008, he was chosen to coach the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League and later moved to the Highveld Lions as a consultant. He’s now a regular pundit on Supersport where he gives his insight and opinions on games involving the Proteas.
Photo: Michael Sheehan/BackpagePix