Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen says the skills that earned him international recognition on the hockey field have have helped him blossom in the cricket arena.
Madsen made 39 Test appearances for South Africa before he swapped the white ball for a red one.
Madsen retired from international hockey in 2006 although he is still involved in the sport at a local level with Belper where he is director of hockey and acknowledges the game’s influence on his cricket career, especially in the T20 format.
“Both are bat-ball sports and growing up as a kid, hockey was my winter sport and cricket my summer sport,” he said.
“In terms of my shots, reverse sweeps are a classic hockey shot and that’s a big one for me, especially in T20 and one-day cricket, so I would say hockey has definitely had a big influence on the shots I play on the cricket field.
“A lot of play in hockey involves the wrists, both in the skill and striking of the ball. The way I drive a cricket ball, especially outside off stump, is very wristy so without doubt hockey has had a huge impact on my cricket game.”
Madsen handed the captaincy in T20 this season to Wes Durston and was forced to sit out the opening four games in the North Group after breaking a finger on the final day of the county championship game against Northamptonshire last month.
He was due to be out for six weeks but the injury healed quickly enough for him to be included in the squads for this week’s NatWest Blast matches.
He admits he cannot wait to get back on the field after the longest injury lay-off of his Derbyshire career.
“I had the pin taken out on Tuesday and the specialist is happy with how it’s healed so I’m a fortnight ahead of schedule.
“This is the longest time I’ve been out injured by a long way, before this I only missed a couple of games through injury in six years.
“I’m not a great spectator so I’ve tried to stay away as much as possible although I watched the T20 games. The last four weeks have been frustrating and I’m really eager to get back, I feel really refreshed and I’ve strengthened up doing a lot of gym work.
“The only T20 I didn’t watch was the first one against Yorkshire when I was having the op on my finger. We’ve played some great cricket apart from the collapse last week when we should have got home and I know the guys are keen to put that right.
“Watching the games has given me a different perspective on it and I’ve been able to pass on my views from the side to the players and thoughts on how we can keep improving.”