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Short Biography of Kepler Wessels

by Sahir Usman Nov 13, 2017 • 15:00 PM

Kepler Christoffel Wessels is a former South African cricketer, who holds the unique distinction of plying for Australia and South Africa national teams and later also became the first South African captain of the modern era. A left-handed opening batsman, Wessels also served as the coach for the Indian Premier League franchise Chennai Super Kings in 2008.

Kepler Wessels was born in Bloemfontein on September 14, 1957. He was educated at Grey College and, though gifted at both boxing and tennis, he insisted on learning about cricket, a game not previously linked with the traditions of Afrikanerdom. 

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Wessels was six years old when he was introduced to the game of cricket by his sister's boyfriend, Johan Volsteedt. Volsteedt taught him the basics of the game and began to regularly play cricket with him during Sunday visits to the Wessels household. A few years later, Volsteedt became the master in charge of cricket at Grey College, Bloemfontein, and coached Wessels during his playing days for the school's first team. During winter, he played tennis, at which he won so frequently that, by 1973, he was the number 1 under-16 player in South Africa and was offered a scholarship of $25 000 over four years from the University of Houston.

He made his first-class debut at the age of 16, batting at number nine and making 32 for Orange Free State in a team captained by the Test veteran Colin Bland. At 18 he was playing professionally in England, opening the batting for Sussex. 

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In the late 1970s, Wessels was drafted by Kerry Packer to play for the Australian World Series Cricket Team. As a South African with little hope of playing Test cricket for his country, Wessels joined it to take advantage of the better pay and conditions that the WSC offered.

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