Skipper Luke Wright says the “selfless” attitude of Sussex Sharks’ bowlers has been the key to their impressive start to the Vitality Blast campaign.
Sussex will host Middlesex at the First Central County Ground on Friday night (7pm) looking to make it six wins out of seven and maintain their unbeaten start to South Group campaign in front of a fourth Hove sell-out.
Over 5,000 were there on Tuesday to see Wright and Phil Salt smash 130 off 12 overs to set up a nine-wicket win over Glamorgan.
But Wright was quick to praise his attack who set up the win by restricting Glamorgan to 146 for nine on a flat pitch.
No opponent has scored more than Hampshire’s 174 against Sussex – an impressive stat, especially at Hove where the small boundaries and sea breeze can see mis-hits disappear into the crowd.
“At the start of the competition we spoke to the bowlers about being selfless and it being about the team,” Wright said.
“Of course, they all want to bowl down the hill at Hove, but they have taken on different roles and helped give us such a good start. I’m in a great position as captain. It’s just a case of shuffling them around and keeping them happy.”
Few captains have as many bowling options in this season’s Blast. Tymal Mills, Ollie Robinson, Chris Jordan and Reece Topley have all missed games so they can come back fresh.
Only spinners Rashid Khan and Danny Briggs have played in all seven games while all-rounder David Wiese, who bowled 30 overs last season, has only been needed to bowl nine so far.
Leg-spinner Will Beer, who played in six games in 2018 including the final, hasn’t managed to force his way into the team yet.
“That strength in depth is important when the games come thick and fast,” added Wright. “At Bristol last Sunday we were able to give Tymal a rest and bring him back on Tuesday so Chris Jordan can rest.
“We have to be sensible with players like Tymal and Reece Topley because they have had injury concerns in the past. We have probably seen a bit more of Jofra Archer than we expected but all the bowlers have contributed, and we still have guys like Will, who is massively experienced in T20 cricket, to get involved.”
Sussex won five games in a row at the end of last year’s tournament before losing the final to Worcestershire but a year on Wright believes he is leading a better-balanced team and youngsters such as Salt and Delray Rawlins have a precious year’s experience to lean on.
Wright added: “We had to work hard to win matches last year but 12 months on we have players like Salty and Rawlins with more experience while Alex Carey brings quality to the middle order.
“But we can’t relax - we have to keep our momentum, keep pushing. We didn’t play anywhere near our best last Sunday but still managed to beat Gloucestershire and that’s a good sign –we can win and know there is room for improvement.”