A slight change in his style of attacking play at the infancy stage of his innings against the moving Duke ball and a more circumspect and watchful approach has aided Stiaan van Zyl at his adopted home in Sussex, England.

Van Zyl was brimming with confidence while speaking from Brighton and Hove in East Sussex about his success in county cricket. The World Sports Betting Cape Cobras batsman is on the brink of 1000 runs in his debut season for Sussex.

“I have four matches left and there is a real chance of me scoring the remaining 300 runs (283 to be exact) to get to 1000.

“I think one of the keys was that I realized that the (Duke) ball is moving around quite a bit early on and that I should not drive too much, but rather cut and pull. If you can occupy the crease for the first 30 or 35 overs, things become very pleasant for batting,” Van Zyl said.

“You have to stick to the basics and accelerate later,” the number four batsman added.

“I did most of my scoring against the newer ball against the short stuff.”

Van Zyl said when he represented South Africa, he sometimes had the feeling that things were on a knife’s edge and that he could lose his place soon.

But he was more assured about his position at Sussex. “The coach, Mark Davies, has backed me 110% and he is very positive,” he said.

Van Zyl has also been in some excellent partnerships with Luke Wells in first-class cricket, as well as with Chris Nash in List A cricket.

A natural attacking batsman whose cover drives and straight drives are his signature shots, Van Zyl is a player who can score all around the crease.

Although his cutting, hooking and pulling are splendid, it is his majestic driving on the up at any stage of his innings which has put bowlers on the back foot and has endeared him to domestic South African crowds.

Talking about Brighton and Hove, Van Zyl said it was like the Mother City without Table Mountain and he enjoyed the camaraderie of the team.

“I often go for a swim because my place is only two minutes away from the sea. There are many restaurants literally on my front door step,” he added.

Van Zyl was in prolific form with the blade in the second half of the Sunfoil Series for the WSB Cape Cobras last season after a sedate start to the four-day campaign.

“I enjoyed Ashie (Ashwell Prince). He is very straight forward and honest with us, and that is all a player wants,” he added.

He admitted he lacked a bit of confidence initially after coming back from the national team, but flourished at the business end of the four-day domestic showpiece, striking 709 runs which included three centuries.

As the Cobras’ leading run-scorer in the longer format, Van Zyl is keen to make an impression for the Cobras.

Remarkably, at only 29, Van Zyl is closing in on 10 000 runs, having scored 9118 runs with four county matches and the whole of the Sunfoil Series still at his disposal to complete the sensational milestone by autumn 2018.

But right now, having amassed 717 runs at an average of 47.80, Van Zyl is relishing the challenge to finish his county season with a bang and put his name on the honours board as a South African who has compiled 1000 runs in his maiden season for Sussex.

The WSB Cape Cobras managemenot team will feel more at ease with Van Zyl in splendid form. He and Justin Ontong have shared in many match-winning stands for the Cape Champions.

In 2013/2014 Ontong struck 927 runs and Van Zyl hammered 933 to propel the Cobras to the four-day title. When both are on song, the PPC Newlands-based team has a realistic chance of gunning for glory again, like they did in 2014.