Sharks to sharpen teeth in Caribbean
The Caribbean T20 represents the perfect opportunity for Sussex to provide their emerging talent with some much-needed experience.
The Sharks, captained by Michael Yardy, have named six players aged from 20 to 24 in their youthful 13-man squad due to the unavailability of several senior stars.
The absence of England internationals Matt Prior and Monty Panesar, explosive all-rounder Luke Wright and reliable batsmen Murray Goodwin and Ed Joyce may represent a blow to Sussex’s chances of success.
But the competition provides the ideal chance for the likes of all-rounder Will Adkin, spinner Will Beer and batsman Matt Machan to make an impression and, at the same time, enhance their prospects of breaking into Yardy’s team for the new season.
Despite the youth at Yardy’s disposal, the Sharks do have experienced performers in their ranks in the form of Yardy himself, vice-captain Chris Nash, who compiled 335 runs during last season’s Friends Life t20, and former England seamer Amjad Khan.
The Sharks will also take great heart from Hampshire’s success in the previous competition.
The Royals, led by Jimmy Adams, employed a youthful squad and embraced the tournament, advancing all the way to the final only to suffer a 36-run defeat to Trinidad and Tobago, who boasted West Indies internationals Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons and Denesh Ramdin.
Sussex begin their intriguing campaign tomorrow against the Netherlands, a team the Sharks know well after convincingly defeating them twice on their way to topping Group A of the Clydesdale Bank 40 last year.
They also face the challenge of David Bernard’s Jamaica and unknown quantity Combined Campuses & Colleges before travelling to Bridgetown to complete their Group B fixtures against a Barbados outfit including paceman Tino Best and spinner Sulieman Benn.
Barbados provides Yardy with fond memories as Bridgetown was the venue for the World Twenty20 final in 2010, which saw England defeat Australia by seven wickets to claim their first global title after 35 years of trying.
Yardy, fresh from extending his stay at the PROBIZ County Ground, will be eager to emulate those scenes, this time with his emerging Sussex side.
Sussex fans can follow the Sharks’ progress by listening to radio coverage on the county’s website. The group games with Combined Campuses & Colleges and Barbados will be televised on ESPN UK.