Haines took charge when Ben Brown lost the captaincy last month and has enjoyed the challenge, even though call-ups to The Hundred robbed Sussex of 11 players. He was happy to call upon his predecessor for advice too.
“For the first couple of games it was quite eye-opening how much I thought about what we’d just done in the field when I went out to bat,” said the Horsham batsman.
“I spoke to Browny, and he said you have to learn to park it and concentrate on your main skill. Captaincy makes you think so much more, about who to bowl at certain ends and how to protect small boundaries.”
Haines was one of ten players making their Sussex List A debut in the competition and a lack of experience probably cost them victories in tight games against Lancashire and Gloucestershire.
They beat Worcestershire and Middlesex at Hove on Thursday, when Haines and his predecessor Brown both scored centuries.
“It made it all the sweeter to come out on the right side against Middlesex because we’ve had a few games when it has gone the other way,” said Haines.
“We’d have loved to have beaten Lancashire and Gloucestershire and we were in a position to but in the last few weeks we have all had experiences which we know if we come across next year will help us get over the line.”
Haines enjoyed seeing his mate Brown celebrate his maiden List A hundred as much as his own. After he was left out of the first two games, Brown returned in a new role opening the batting.
“He has enjoyed this new role and I think it suits him,” said Haines. “I can’t fault his attitude since he came back into the team, he’s a great guy and looked to help me.
“It has been stressful, but I have loved leading the side. We’ve got a great group of lads with a lot of talent. The experienced players have helped me so much, I can’t thank them enough.”
For his part Brown says he is committed to Sussex despite the shock of losing the captaincy after five years.
“I didn’t enjoy missing the first two games – that was someone else’s decision – and it was just nice to come back in and help Tom and a young Sussex team,” said Brown.
“I know how challenging captaincy is with a young side and I wanted to help Tom. Not having the gloves has given me more time to do that as well.
“I really enjoyed captaincy even though it was challenging at times and I’m really sad to not be doing it going forward. It has been a tough few weeks. It’s a privilege to play for my home county and nothing has changed in that regard.”