CRICKETERS are a superstitious bunch and Glamorgan captain Mark Wallace certainly isn’t going to jinx a landmark appearance.
The 32-year-old wicket-keeper is poised to make his 200th consecutive County Championship appearance when he leads his side against Surrey tomorrow.
Wallace has been named in Glamorgan’s 12-man squad for their Division Two opener yet his is reluctant to discuss a notable milestone, perhaps wary of cropper at the last-minute like Glenn McGrath, the legendary Australian seamer who missed the key Edgbaston Ashes Test in 2005 after rolling an ankle on a rougue ball in the warm-up.
“A few people have talked about it but I’m a bit superstitious,” said Wallace.” I might have a smile once the coin goes up and I’m about to play at the Oval but you can get injured any time.
“I actually broke my thumb in a warm-up game last year and almost missed the first championship game, so I know that things can change very quickly! I won’t be counting my chickens.”
Wallace will be the first county cricketer to play 200 games on the bounce since Middlesex’s Clive Radley in 1976. He hasn’t missed a game since donning the gloves against Kent in Maidstone on June 13, 2001.
And the wicket-keeper certainly has a super setting and occasion for achieving the landmark – he will be pitting his wits against Surrey captain Graeme Smith, who will have Kevin Pietersen in his side, at a famous venue.
“The Oval is a great place to play and to go up against Surrey first up is exciting,” he said.
“To go out straight away and test yourself against the likes of Graeme Smith on a Test ground is great and we’ll quickly see where we are at after the winter.”
That hard graft took place under the gaze of new Glamorgan boss Toby Radford, who succeeded Matthew Mott following his return to Australia after three years at the helm.
“It’s funny when people refer to Toby as a new coach because he has been working with us since November and it feels like he has been here a while,” said Wallace.
“It’s been good and he has put his stamp on things; a new coach always comes in with their own ideas and players have to prove themselves to him.
“The guys have worked really hard this winter and we’re keen to get out of the nets and the gym and out on the field.”
Glamorgan (from): G Rees, W Bragg, S Walters, M Goodwin, C Cooke, J Allenby, M Wallace (capt), G Wagg, R Smith, D Cosker, M Hogan, W Owen.