Delport at the ready ahead of Lord’s clash


Cameron Delport is a bit hazy about the precise details of his one and only previous visit to The Cloudfm County Ground. But Essex’s big-hitting T20 import is pretty certain about where he carted the bowling on that occasion.

“I played here in about 2005,” he hazards. “I was on a student exchange at Portsmouth Grammar School and Graham Ford [a fellow native of Durban] was coach of Kent and he got me to come and play a twos game here. It was a combined game. I think we were Kent and Essex, maybe, and played against Middlesex or Surrey or someone.

“I batted probably at seven and hit a few into the car park. I remember doing that.”

If the 30-year-old Delport lives up to his reputation it won’t only be cars parked behind the executive suite that are under threat. Delport has already been eyeing up the short Chelmsford boundaries and the maintenance staff have expressed concern about the safety of his office windows high up in the Pavilion!

If you need just one innings to sum up the man who has signed on for two summers and is set to bring firepower to the Eagles side against Middlesex and Surrey this week, it has to be one of the most recent: back in March he thumped the Lahore Qalanders attack all around Karachi in compiling an unbeaten 117, his century for Islamabad United taking just 49 balls, the fastest recorded in Pakistan Super League history. At that point he had creamed 11 fours and launched six sixes; by the end of his innings he had faced a further 11 balls and add two more boundaries.

“It was pretty magical,” he recalls. “It was the first time competitive cricket had come back to Pakistan. We’d been playing our previous games in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. We needed to win, I just went with the flow, that’s how I like to play. I didn’t really think about it too much, I just went for it. There were a few balls there to be whacked.”

Delport is one of the modern breed of T20 gunslingers. A genuine all-rounder, with the figures to prove it. He has played in all the major leagues around the world; indeed, since leaving Leicestershire last August he has turned out in the Caribbean Premier League, Afghanistan Premier League, the inaugural Mzansi Super League at home in South Africa, the Bangladesh Premier League, and finally in Pakistan. His air-miles account looks pretty healthy, as does his growing aggregate of runs: from September to March he amassed 1,003 runs all told. Then he had a rest.

“I didn’t do the IPL this year, so I’ve had a little break. In my downtime, I did some surfing, played a lot of golf, a lot of beach-time, went into the bush. There are a lot of game reserves just north of Durban. But in early May I started to get that itchy feeling and started having a few nets back in Durban.”

Essex will be hoping the itch still needs scratching and the Delport is ready to lift a team with some hitting at the top of the order.

Delport has spent a week around a group of players who have just gone top of the Specsavers County Championship in red-ball cricket ahead of the forthcoming month-long block of the short-format version.

“I know the boys are excited about it,” he reports. “Things haven’t gone well for the last couple of years, so that’s got to change. Our luck’s got to change.”

You can catch Cameron Delport and the Essex Eagles during this year’s competition with tickets now available. The opening clash against Surrey is sold out but be quick to snap up your tickets for other remaining 6 matches!

Tickets prices start from £25.00 Adults, £20.00 Students/Young Adults (18-25) and £10 Juniors (U18s) with Allocated and Premium seating also available. Purchase online now or phone 01245 254010 to book by phone.