Robinson backing Sussex
Sussex cricket manager Mark Robinson is confident his side can take their outstanding NatWest Pro40 form into the game against Championship hopefuls Durham.
Sussex blazed to Division One glory in a winner-takes-all clash against Nottinghamshire thanks to a last-wicket stand of 99 in 60 balls between Murray Goodwin and Mohammad Sami that handed outgoing skipper Chris Adams an emotional win at Trent Bridge.
“We had a great win at the weekend and to win in such dramatic fashion against all the odds gives everybody a lift and a boost going into what is a crucial game against a high quality Durham team,” he told ecb.co.uk.
Robinson is also backing the side to give Adams the send-off he deserves after he decided to relinquish the captaincy at the end of a season which has seen Sussex cope admirably with the loss of talismanic leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed.
“Chris has been the captain for the club’s most successful decade and it would be fitting if we manage to finish strongly in this campaign it would be even better.”
“We have played all year without an overseas player which by definition is hard work. To have no overseas player, especially one of the quality of Mushtaq who basically hasn’t been fit all year, is hard but we have played good cricket in our last half of the summer.”
Sussex have a full strength available for the clash at the Riverside, with England all-rounder Luke Wright likely to bolster the middle-order at the expense of off-spinner Ollie Rayner.
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior is also available for the game, a fixture the visitors have won five times from the last seven occasions.
Championship chasing Durham could again name a side without seamers Liam Plunkett and Graham Onions in their bowling ranks.
The pair were left out of the side that drew with fellow high-fliers Somerset in their last outing, with Mark Davies and Callum Thorp set to keep hold of their places.
England seamer Steve Harmison will spearhead the Durham attack with younger brother Ben set to keep his all-rounder spot.
Coach Geoff Cook is confident his side can keep up their good form and keep in the hunt for the Division One title.
“It’s a really important game for us and it’s also important we recognise the task ahead. Out of the last two games if we can pick up a draw and a win I think we’ll be pretty close.
“It’s been an exciting season for us and we’ve been at the sharp end of it. The team have had the desire to compete right across the board.”
Durham, who lie three points behind leaders Hampshire, will be hoping for a repeat of the reverse fixture at Hove back in May where they inflicted Sussex’s first home defeat since 2005 with a seven-wicket triumph.
Cook however is wary of the threat Sussex pose and knows his side will need to be firing on all cylinders to take the spoils.
“Sussex are a strong side and you can’t predict how things will go. They are a fine side and used to winning things,” he added.