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Upbeat Wright ticking to t20 rhythm

Friends Life t20

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When the cricket calendar flicks over to the Friends Life t20 every year, there can be few players more enthusiastic about the competition than Sussex's Luke Wright.

Indeed, it would be no surprise to see the Sharks' quarter-final against Gloucestershire marked with a big red circle in Wright's abode once you have heard him talk effusively of his passion for the shortest form of the game.

The 27-year-old thrives in t20 and it is no surprise that he spearheaded Sussex's charge as they became the first county to book their place in the last eight.

A wonderful innings of 91 against Middlesex, the second-highest score this year behind James Hildreth's century on the same night, represents the most eye-catching of Wright's totals thus far, but he has also pieced together key opening stands with Chris Nash worth 77 and 86, and he combined with Matt Prior for a 114-run second-wicket partnership against Hampshire.

Wright told ecb.co.uk: "It's going really well, I'm really pleased. I love this part of the season. To be doing well and helping Sussex to get more wins is what you want to do.

"When you're scoring runs in Twenty20 it's when you can enjoy it; it's when you're not that it starts getting frustrating.

"We're lucky that all the batters are in good form. We're just going out there and enjoying ourselves and not worrying about getting out which I think is the key to Twenty20 cricket."

Luke Wright

Luke Wright believes the attacking style of Sussex's batting line-up has been a key factor in their progression to the FLt20 quarter-finals

Sussex, winners of the competition in 2009, are no strangers to the knockout phase, having reached the quarter-finals in each of the last two seasons.

Defeats to Nottinghamshire and Lancashire proved painful on those occasions, but Wright is convinced the current team, who have surpassed 200 with the bat on three occasions this summer, can make it through to finals day.

"I think we've got a good side,” he added. "I think we've been lucky that some of the guys have come through - people like Matt Machan and (Joe) Gatting have stepped up this year and they add to our power hitters. I think we've got more power hitters than we've ever had.

"We've got a lot of confidence in the team at the minute and some very disruptive players."

Few are more disruptive than Wright himself.

He can call upon a wealth of experience across the globe, having played in the Indian Premier League with Pune Warriors and Australia's Big Bash League with Melbourne Stars. His stint Down Under will be best remembered for a 44-ball century, the fastest ever in Australia's domestic competition, which he compiled in January.

Add to that his 30 T20 outings for England and you have a player well versed in the sprint format.

"In all forms, but especially in Twenty20 now, I like to think I've got something to offer," Wright said.

"I do put it on myself to expect a lot of performances and luckily that's been happening."

Those high-expectation levels will undoubtedly stretch to the international scene, a stage where Wright displayed his talents in 2010 when he was part of the England side that clinched the World Twenty20 title in the Caribbean.

More good performances in the FLt20 could see Wright ushered back into the set-up in September as England look to defend their crown in Sri Lanka, but he acknowledges he must maintain the fine form he has shown with the Sharks.

"You just want to win the competition for Sussex and then whatever happens after that happens," he explained.

"I'm giving myself every chance. I'm scoring lots of runs. You've just got to keep knocking on the door. At the end of the day it's out of your hands.

"I'm just loving playing my cricket at the minute. The Sussex boys - we've got a really good bunch together at the minute - fingers crossed we can get to that finals day."

Few would bet against Sussex being among the quartet in Cardiff on August 25 for a date that Wright has perhaps already earmarked with the biggest of red circles.

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