Aussie Head gets started in Sussex - and is in for long haul

Australian batsman Travis Head has arrived in Sussex - and does not intend for it to be a flying visit.

Travis Head in action for Adelaide Strikers / Picture: Getty
Travis Head in action for Adelaide Strikers / Picture: Getty

A year later than originally planned - after his stay at Hove last year was scuppered by Covid restrictions - Head is here and set for his debut at Northmapton in the county championship match starting Thursday.

And while some overseas stars are known for their 'blink and you miss it' attachments to English counties, Head is thinking differently.

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He said: "I’m here to play as much cricket as I can. I missed out last year and I was desperately keen to come over. I’m here to play cricket, win games for Sussex and hopefully create a culture where we can have success. They’re keen for that and I am too.

Travis Head at the crease for South Australia / Picture: Getty

"I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time here in the years to come and hopefully I can settle down in the team and have some real success. Right now, I’m ready to go and play all season."

The 27-year-old South Australian has played with a number of Sussex Sharks in his Adelaide Strikers Big Bash T20 team and has heard good things about the county - and in particular Brighton.

One of his aims in 2021 has to be to get back into the Aussie Test line-up after he failed to land a central contract. But for now his focus is on Sussex.

"Obviously, it’s disappointing not to be on there (with Australia), but from the standpoint of where we need to be and what Australian cricket wants and expect, they want guys contributing in international cricket and winning games for Australia, and when I had my opportunity, I wasn’t able to do that," said Head.

"It was great to go home and play really good domestic cricket but at the end of the day, when I get my opportunity, I need to be able to take that in international cricket. It would have been different being at home and having two months off and going into pre-season with that over my head, thinking about where I’m going to be and what I’m going to do.

"I’ve got the opportunity here to make an impact at Sussex and get as many runs as possible – that’s the currency. I’ve done it domestically in Australia and the challenge is to do it domestically here and hopefully that can put me in good stead for the summer and I get opportunities to win as many games of cricket for Australia as I possibly can."

Head, who has previously played for Yorkshire and Worcestershire, comes to England on the back of a big-scoring season for South Australia - in fact he was the second top run scorer in the Sheffield Shield. He said: "The season was personally my best and it was consistent, and as a cricketer and as a batter, that’s what I want to be. I want to be as consistent as possible and that’s the season I was able to have in Australia.

"I made a couple of changes to my technique after the Test matches and it’s always nice when it works, and I got some runs. the challenge now is to prepare to best way I can for Northants, give myself the best chance and go out nice and relaxed and play the way I want to play.

"It’s going to be a challenge. There’s not much time between games to work on your craft or have long training sessions. In Australia, we get six or seven day breaks; here, we get two or three so it’s different challenges and I’m looking forward to learning how guys operate in that situation.

"My time at Yorkshire and Worcestershire is a huge benefit. I get limited time to prepare before the first game but in the past, I’ve been able to get into gear really quickly. I’ve had a couple of county stints in the past and an Ashes series so I’ll lean back on that and the experience we’ve got in the team so I can hit the ground running.

"I love playing and competing and I think that’s what I love the most about coming over here. You play so much cricket, there’s so many opportunities to win games so I’m buzzing to be over here, and I can’t wait to start."