New Leicestershire signing Cameron Delport is desperately hoping the Foxes’ appalling run of luck with the weather changes in time for Friday’s vital NatWest T20 Blast match against the in-form Worcestershire Rapids at the Fischer County Ground.
Leicestershire have played just 23 overs out of a possible 240 in limited over competitions since signing the big-hitting South African last week.
Rain during an already shortened match left them very much on the wrong side of the Duckworth-Lewis equation in last week’s T20 Blast game against Lancashire at Old Trafford, before RL50 matches away to the Northants Steelbacks and the Rapids were both washed out.
Delport acknowledged it has not been the ideal build-up to a match against a Worcestershire side that has won four of their last five T20 Blast matches, and seven of their last eight away from New Road.
“It has been frustrating, though at least I’ve had the chance to get to know the guys off the field, and we’ve been working hard indoors where we’ve had the opportunity,” said the 27-year-old T20 specialist, who was part of the Dolphins’ 2014 Champions League campaign in India, and has also played for the Caribbean Premier League’s Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel, the Big Bash League’s Sydney Thunder, and the Pakistan Super League’s Lahore Qalanders.
“But with 14 games in a T20 campaign, it means that if you can put together three or four wins on the trot you should still be in with a very good shout of reaching the final stages.
“You see it in the IPL, you see it all around the world. The key is momentum and to peak late in a tournament rather than early, especially in a long competition like this.
“I look at this Foxes’ squad and the capacity to do that is there, there are a lot of talented players. There’s also experience, and that’s important, you need to have an understanding of how to get across the line, and they’ve got great coaching staff – our own Pierre de Bruin, and of course [Elite Performance Director] Andrew McDonald, who I got to know during my time at Sydney Thunder.
“It’s a strong league, no question. It was a real buzz to make my debut against Lancashire at a world-class Test venue, and there are some very big names involved now, with Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum all playing. It’s seriously exciting to be part of that.”
Delport is not completely unfamiliar with the unpredictable English climate, having had a brief spell with the Kent second eleven back in 2007, when Graham Ford was the Kent coach.
“I guess it did give me some idea what to expect, though I didn’t see rain like we had at New Road in particular! I’m certainly looking forward to seeing a bit of the country while I’m here, but now it’s all about the Rapids at home under the floodlights on Friday.
“The guys tell me the atmosphere under the lights at home is a different class, and hopefully we’ll get a change of luck with the weather and have a full game.”
Delport, who has an ancestral visa and so does not count as an overseas player, is currently available to the Foxes up to and including the Blast match against Birmingham at Edgbaston on July 17th. Injuries and international absences have seen him reach an agreement to also play RL50.
However the news that another South African signing, Rilee Roussouw, is no longer available due to injury – Roussouw has had surgery after injuring a shoulder on international duty – has forced the Foxes to go back into the market in search of a replacement for overseas star Umar Akmal, who will shortly head off to play in the Caribbean Premier League.
McDonald was hoping to confirm a new signing before Friday’s game against the Rapids.
Leicestershire Foxes possible squad: Pettini (capt), Cosgrove, Akmal, Dexter, Delport, Hill, Taylor, Wells, Raine, McKay, Naik, Ali, Sykes.