T20 Blast 2021 team guide: Sussex Sharks

Who are the key players? How did they do last year? Where are they strong? Where might they be weak? Key questions answered ahead of the new T20 Blast campaign


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Coach: James Kirtley

Captain: Luke Wright

Last season: Quarter-finals 

How did they do last year?

They survived a mid-campaign wobble to book their passage into the quarter-finals with reasonable comfort, winning their last two matches.

They were spun out at home to Lancashire in the first knockout stage, however. Wright scored 411 runs last summer at 37.36 and a strike-rate of 137. He needs two runs for 8,000 in his career.

David Wiese had a great year with the bat, but took only one wicket and was expensive with the ball.


Phil Salt is a powerful presence at the top of the Sussex order

Who are their key players?

Phil Salt, Luke Wright, George Garton. Salt has made 15 half-centuries, and 2,041 runs at 24.59. A maiden T20 century this summer maybe?

Wright is now 36 but there are no signs of slowing down. Garton’s strike-rate last year was 7.70… Jordan (6.71) and Delray Rawlins (7.06) are also run misers.

What are their biggest strengths?

Luke Wright and Phil Salt are a dynamic opening pair with global experience. Ravi Bopara had a poor first season last summer – 112 runs at 12, no wickets - so has a point to prove if he wants a new deal.

Sussex also have some serious firepower thanks to swift southpaws George Garton – leading wicket-taker with 14 last year at 16.50 – and Tymal Mills (11 at 22).

Then there’s the wily Chris Jordan, and the Bangladeshi spin svengali, Rashid Khan, ranked No.1 in the world - though he will join late after Pakistan Super League duty.

“I’m probably the luckiest bowling coach going around,” says Kirtley.


Where might they have a weakness?

International call-ups and injuries.

Jofra Archer is struggling to play again this summer because of his elbow injury. Ollie Robinson is now in the England set-up. Mills has had a huge struggle staying fit.

Laurie Evans and Danny Briggs will be missed after their departures to Surrey and Warwickshire respectively.

Because of the financial challenges, Sussex do not have a big squad, and with the games coming thick and fast this summer, the club physio could be a key player.

What are their chances of reaching Finals Day?

Sussex would seem to be as well-stocked as anyone. In assessing Jason Gillespie’s tenure in charge upon his departure at the end of 2020, it seemed hard to believe that a squad with so much T20 experience failed to win the competition under his stewardship.

Khan – the world’s leading T20 cricketer of the last decade – and South African allrounder Wiese are both due back, with the latter now an overseas player following the termination of Kolpak registrations.

“We’re aware we’ve got a global profile in our T20 side and with that comes expectation,” Kirtley explains. “A quarter-final place is the minimum of where we should find ourselves.”

Possible XI: Luke Wright, Phil Salt, Stiaan van Zyl, Delray Rawlins, Ravi Bopara, Ben Brown, David Wiese, Jack Carson or Will Beer, Chris Jordan, Rashid Khan, Tymal Mills

Fixtures: June 11 - Gloucestershire (a); June 12 – Hampshire (h); June 15 – Essex (a); June 17 – Surrey (a); June 18 – Somerset (h); June 22 – Glamorgan (h); June 25 – Gloucestershire (h); June 27 – Surrey (h); June 29 – Kent (h); July 1 – Middlesex (a); July 2 – Glamorgan (a)

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