Mulder has got the X Factor
Mulder has got the X Factor

When Faf du Plessis, the South Africa captain, predicts that a young player has the potential to become the next Jacques Kallis, the tendency is to take notice.

That is exactly what Kent did when undertaking their due diligence ahead of completing the deal for summer signing Wiaan Mulder – the 21-year-old all-rounder Du Plessis has tagged as the “new Kallis”.

With only one Test cap and 24 first-class appearances under his belt Mulder understands he is far from the finished product, after all Proteas’ legend Kallis scored over 13,000 runs in his 166 Tests and took almost 300 wickets to boot, yet Mulder is by no means overwrought by Du Plessis’ expectations either.

“It’s not something that bothers me to be honest,” said Mulder. “Sure, it’s nice for Faf to say such things, but it’s early in my career and none of us know where we’ll ultimately end up.

“All I intend on doing is going out there and playing my best every game. Being an all-rounder, I can make contributions with bat and balls, as Jacques did so well for South Africa, but where I’ll end up we’ll never know, so it’s not something I worry about too much.

“What’s important to me is simply trying to be the best I can be in every situation.”

Mulder added: “Coming to Kent was quite a sudden thing, but it’s fair to say I’ve always wanted to come and play county cricket. I was back home when I got a call that I might be able to come here if I could get an NOC [No-objection Certificate] from the South Africa board.

“That all unfolded within two weeks and I’m happy to say I was delighted to arrive. I’m really loving it, the Kent lads have been amazing and look after me like I’m one of their own, which is rare in world cricket these days.”

Mulder is in line to make the third appearance of his seven-match midsummer deal with Kent on Monday when acting captain Joe Denly’s side welcome Somerset to the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence for a four-day Specsavers County Championship clash with Somerset.

In his only home game to date, last month’s hard-fought draw with Surrey at Beckenham, Mulder snagged five wickets and batted over two hours for an unbeaten 68 in the second innings that helped secure five valuable points for the draw.

He said: “I was really proud of the lads against Surrey. Going into the last day already one wicket down, we basically had to defend all day and do what we could to not get bowled out. To get a draw in those circumstances can only be good for morale.

“It was a good challenge because Surrey were bowling quite sharply. We knew they were always going to come hard at us and those are the times when games can change. If you crumble in those situations then they’ll get the tailenders in and probably roll us over.

“My aim was to just do it for the team. I said to myself, it doesn’t matter how many runs I score, I just knew that by me staying out there would give us a better chance to get over the line. And thankfully, that’s what happened.

“In fact, our three South Africans did well that day, because Sean Dickson and Heino Kuhn both batted really well to give me the chance of saving it. I was really happy with my contribution and really proud of the guys.

“It’s always good to contribute and, even though I didn’t bowl as well as I’d have liked to, to chip in when the team really needed me most was the important thing to take out of that game.

“You’re never over the moon with a draw, but under those circumstances, we were happy to take it.”