Robinson hails Mushy effort

Lv County Championship
Mushtaq Ahmed

Mushtaq Ahmed celebrates another wicket for Sussex

Mushtaq Ahmed has 97 wickets for the season as Sussex stand on the brink of the Liverpool Victoria County Championship title - but their coach Mark Robinson is at pains to point out they are no one-man team.

The Pakistani leg-spinner illustrated just that point as he came off the field with 8-60 to his name after day two of Sussex’s last match of the season and with Nottinghamshire in big trouble on 50 for four, following on 395 runs in arrears.

Sussex therefore appear to be within two sessions or so of a second title in four years - as long as the rain stays away from Trent Bridge - and that quest is uppermost in Mushtaq’s mind.

Robinson heard Mushtaq proclaim “the title is the main thing for me ... if I can get 100 wickets, great” - and then added his own thoughts on a dramatic passage of play which this afternoon saw Notts’ first innings subside from 143 for three to 165 all out.

Mushtaq took four of those wickets - followed by all four in Notts’ second attempt - leaving Robinson full of admiration not just for his efforts but for those of his whole team.

Mushtaq Ahmed & Rana Naved-ul-Hasan

Mushtaq Ahmed and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan have formed a formidable partnership

“Mushy will take the headlines for what he’s done at the end. But he struggled a little bit for rhythm in that strong wind,” said the coach.

“You know with Mushy and Rana (Naved-ul-Hasan) that you have bowlers who have the ability to rush a team out.

“You know you have that prospect ... but nobody could really envisage that today.”

Even Mushtaq has needed some help along the way, though.

“You need big players to win titles - but you have to have very good players around them and you have to have an environment that is right for your big players to perform in," Robinson added.

“We have that. We’re not just about Mush.”

Six players made half-centuries in Sussex’s 560 for five declared, among them Robin Martin-Jenkins (84no) who then took two of four Notts wickets which fell for one run.

James Kirtley

James Kirtley proved his worth to Sussex © Getty Images

But it was James Kirtley who broke through first, when he had Darren Bicknell lbw, earning praise from Robinson.

“We ask people to change the course of games, and it was Kirtley who did that for us today.”

“Both Rana and Jason (Lewry) hadn’t quite got it right; the pitch was looking flat, and everyone was a bit tense. Then Kirtley comes up with that big wicket.”

Others played their part too and Robinson was full of praise for the entire team.

“Jenkins then comes up with a little two-for ... and that is what I love about Sussex,” he said.

“We’ll always have the headline-makers - like the Goodwins and Mushtaqs - but all season it has been someone else coming up and changing the course of a match.”