Dubai – When David Wiese walked off the field at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi at the last T20 World Cup five years ago, he would have thought he was drawing the curtain on his international career.
Although there were no official retirement plans, Wiese was 31-years-old at the time and it was well-known that he sought a more secure immediate future after being on the fringes of the South African national limited-overs’ squad for the past few years without establishing himself as the Proteas’ No 1 all-rounder.
Having already had the status of 20 T20I’s and six ODI’s for the Proteas, coupled with stints in the Indian Premier League and Caribbean Premier League highlighted on his CV, it was no surprise then when Wiese signed a three-year Kolpak deal with Sussex, thereby bringing a close to any further international ambitions.
Mother Cricket, though, has her own plans and after Brexit forced the cancellation of the Kolpak arrangement, Wiese was now able to play international cricket again. Only it wasn’t going to be for South Africa, but for neighbours Namibia – the birth land of his father – instead.
“It's been amazing for me just being back,” Wiese said ahead of Namibia’s T20 World Cup tie against New Zealand in Sharjah on Friday.
“Playing international cricket again has been an awesome experience for me. To play with a team like Namibia that's got a lot of talent, a lot of potential there, to help those guys out and to make it into the Super 12 stage has just been actually amazing for us.”
Wiese has certainly provided the Namibians with plenty of international experience, but also much-needed firepower in the middle of the batting unit.
He was unable to take Namibia home against Pakistan in an entertaining run-chase with an undefeated 43 off just 31 balls in Abu Dhabi earlier in the week, but he has already played some smashing innings in the tournament thus far to propel the Namibians to the T20 World Cup main table.
It is performances like these that have seen Wiese nominated for the most recent ICC Player of the Month award.
“I'm humbled to be part of the players that have been nominated. Some quality players, Asif Ali and Shakib (Al-Hasan), both quality players.
“To be recognised amongst them, it's a privilege. And just thank you. It's been a good month. Performance-wise, Namibia got into the Super 12s and put in one or two big performances. And that was the main thing for me.”
The adventure in the UAE continues with Namibia set to face ICC Test champions and World Cup runners-up New Zealand on Friday before their final blockbuster match against superpower India.
“We know New Zealand are tough opposition. They've got world-class players there,” Wiese said.
“And look, you don’t want to kind of get ahead of yourself, but from the start, when we qualified for the Super 12s, the possibility of us playing against India was exciting. They're a world-class team.
“From the start that's a game that everybody's been looking forward to. The opportunities you get to play against the best in the world, face the best bowlers. It doesn't happen often for a team like Namibia. We're just embracing that challenge.”