Sussex skipper prepares for Hampshire clash and admits: Lockdown has been tough
Ben Brown says his Sussex players are "chomping at the bit" when the county season finally gets under way today.
Sussex face four first division opponents in the southern group of the Bob Willis Trophy, starting against Hampshire at Hove.
“We can’t wait – the boys are chomping at the bit,” said Brown. “Lockdown has been really tough, especially for the guys whose contracts are expiring at the end of the season.
“For everyone to get an opportunity to perform is all we can ask for, especially because at one stage it didn’t look as if there would be any cricket at all.”
Sussex had the better of things in a two-day friendly against Hampshire earlier this week with Academy youngsters Henry Crocombe and Jack Carson impressing.
Crocombe is a 19-year-old fast bowler from Hailsham who went on Sussex’s pre-season trip to Cape Town while off-spinner Carson was a regular in the second XI last season.
“Henry impressed us when we were in Cape Town for pre-season and I thought he bowled well again in the friendly,” said Brown. “Jack has less opportunity against Hampshire, but they are both talented young cricketers and they definitely be in our plans for the next few weeks.”
Whoever plays, will be a different-looking Sussex team with the emphasis on home grown and English qualified players.
Neither Stiaan van Zyl nor David Wiese, who are still in South Africa are available and Sussex opted in June not to bring over Australian batsman Travis Head until next season. Chris Jordan is also sidelined as he recovers from arm surgery.
Ollie Robinson, Phil Salt and Laurie Evans are all back with the county but Brown says Sussex will need to clarify whether they will be available having been in England’s biosecure training camps for the last few weeks.
Robinson did play in the friendly against Hampshire but the pick of the attack was Mitch Claydon, the 37-year-old former Kent seamer. “I have played against Mitch many times and it’s nice to have him on our side now,” said Brown. “He’s got so much experience which he can pass onto the younger guys and he will bring an awful lot to the dressing room.
“In terms of our seamers we’re going to have to be careful with their workload and rotate them because I think after such a long lay-off injuries are inevitable. But starting in August should mean we can bring the spinners more into play.”
Sussex also staged an inter-club warm-up game as part of their preparations but Brown says there’s nothing like the real thing to get competitive juices following.
“It will be brilliant just to be back out there playing proper cricket again,” he added. “There will be a lot at stake in each game, both individually and as a team but we’re looking forward to it.”
Although spectators cannot attend, Sussex are offering a live feed of each game free of charge to their members and supporters. More information at www.sussexcricket.co.uk