Riki Wessels has been an integral part of Nottinghamshire’s recent campaigns, in all formats of the game. He finished last season strongly, faring much better than previous openers at the club. After the culmination of the competitions, he sought a new challenge and took to Bangladesh this winter to play for Khulna Royal Bengals and for Wessels, the matches were a little different to those in Nottingham.

“It was a new experience, especially to playing at Trent Bridge,” he said.

“You get used to that and expect everything to be the same over the world. Contrast that with playing in Bangladesh to a half-full stadium where there are still 19,000 people watching you, it’s quite intimidating.”

“For me it’s all about the hard graft over the time to win the game, or even to dig yourself out of a difficult position.”

Despite the intense atmosphere, he said that during his time in the country he made a collection of new friends in the game, and that the standard was higher than expected.

"There were five overseas players in the side so the standard was high. Even the local players that we don’t get to see in England, anyone outside the national side. they stood up really well and fronted nicely. It was nice to see the local lads and style of cricket."

The sight of a hotel room is familiar territory for cricketers, but for Wessels, the changing cities offered various levels of luxury.

“The first week in Dakar was really good, the second week in Khulna was an experience,” he said.

“I think a caravan may have been more comfortable than the hotel. The following week was in Chittagong and the hotel was unbelievable, we felt like royalty. That eased the pain a bit.”

With the weeks spent across the world in Bangladesh and the upcoming pre-season tour in Barbados, Wessels has his sights set on a period at home, and the season ahead. As one of the few players at the club who commands a regular place in all formats of the game, he is optimistic ahead of the new season. 

“We pride ourselves in trying to finish at the top of the Championship and there are some good, experienced heads like Andre Adams who lead the way,” he said.
“With the one day side of the game and especially the t20 we have a slightly different side, bringing in younger players and building them up.  It’s really nice to be involved in all three teams.”

While the distraction of the shorter forms of the game is a good one, his priority lies in playing his part in the success of the club through this summer’s LV= County Championship.

“There’s a far bigger challenge in working to bat for longer periods and it’s far more thrilling when you’ve worked hard as a team for four days to win a game as opposed to maybe just for a couple of hours in an evening,” he said.

“For me it’s all about the hard graft over the time to win the game, or even to dig yourself out of a difficult position.”

With the club strengthening over the winter period, Wessels has found his position at risk after the arrival of opening batsman Eddie Cowan.

“I’ve been opening so it’s going to be a bit different this season,” he said.

“Hopefully I can slot in somewhere else and do my job. It’s going to be a case of nailing down my position in the team, and keeping it. I did a decent job last year, but goals are quite hard to set.

“Everyone wants 1000 runs, really that’s the minimum for a batsman but If I can take steps from last year that’d be great. I got 199 in a match last summer so it’d be great to tip that over into 200 and similarly I got a 99 so the same applies to that.”