Viljoen looking forward to red ball return

Hardus Viljoen says he feels like he is improving with each game as he prepares to make his first-class debut for Derbyshire following an injury.

The fast bowler missed the first two Specsavers County Championship matches of the season due to a recurrence of a previous injury, but is set to feature against Worcestershire at The 3aaa County Ground this week, starting on Friday 19 May at 11am.

“I’m looking forward to bowling with the red ball. It gives you a bit more assistance on the type of wickets that we play on here and you can be aggressive,” said Viljoen.

“But there’s a very fine line between being aggressive and being consistent, which is a learning curve for me still.

“Every time I walk on the park I do my absolute best, but it’s a process you need to follow and trust your body and you can only do as much as your body allows you to.”

Speaking after Derbyshire’s defeat to Worcestershire in a rain-affected final Royal London One-Day Cup match, Viljoen, who took six wickets in the competition, has high hopes for the young Derbyshire squad.

Viljoen added: “We showed in patches of the competition that we can play good cricket, but we are also learning throughout the process.

“Bowlers tend to get their good and bad days. I have bowled better than this and taken no wickets, so it is a stepping stone going in the right direction.

“We have got a young team with a few experienced guys but it takes a team effort to win games and I am very excited by what I’ve seen and I have got very high hopes for Derbyshire over the next 24 to 36 months.

“We go forward onto Friday and to the Specsavers County Championship and keep our heads up. Nobody will have their heads hanging and we will go again and fight from the start.”

Viljoen played four first-class matches for Kent in 2016, taking 20 wickets at an average of 19.

“You tend to get a bit rusty if you haven’t played for three months throughout an injury, but it’s no excuse, you still need to be able to perform. I feel I’m getting better with every game and it’s a process that I need to allow myself to follow and remain patient. The right performances will come at the right time.

“The intensity between red ball and white ball cricket is a bit different so I don’t think bowling the overs will be a problem. Just being on the park again and being able to play is actually a great feeling.”

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