I was saddened by Ali Orr’s Sussex departure – but there is so much to be positive about for 2024

Sussex Cricket chair Jon Filby admits he was saddened by Ali Orr’s switch to Hampshire – but says there are plenty of positive signs the county can have a successful 2024.
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The opening batsman’s departure was a shock to Sussex fans at the end of last year after a lengthy period in which they have seen a number of star players move on.

But Filby believes their overseas and other signings for 2024 – together with the progress being made by a number of up-and-coming members of the squad – can be a recipe for sucess next summer, when supporters will want to see a serious challenge for promotion back to Division 1 of the County Championship and much better T20 Blast and One Day Cup campaigns that they witnessed in 2023.

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He has also updated fans on Sussex’s wish to become one of eight fully professional women’s county sides from 2025 in a shake-up of the women’s domestic game – as they wait to see what plans will be outlined for the future of The Hundred.

Dan Hughes and Chet Pujara will each spend part of the season with Sussex | Pictures: GettyDan Hughes and Chet Pujara will each spend part of the season with Sussex | Pictures: Getty
Dan Hughes and Chet Pujara will each spend part of the season with Sussex | Pictures: Getty

And he revealed they were close to conducting interviews for the role of chief executive following Rob Andrew’s switch to a new role at the ECB.

In a message to all Sussex members, Filby thanked them for their support in 2023 and said: “2024 is going to be an exciting year for cricket in Sussex and an important one for cricket in England and Wales as important decisions are made about the future of the domestic game.

“We are very much looking forward to seeing Paul Farbrace’s team develop in 2024 and to a serious bid for what is overdue promotion back to the 1st Division of the County Championship, where we all believe Sussex belong.

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“I was personally saddened when Ali Orr made the decision to leave us but that has very much been balanced by positive news across the rest of the squad.

Ali Orr has left Sussex for Hampshire (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)Ali Orr has left Sussex for Hampshire (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Ali Orr has left Sussex for Hampshire (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

“Paul Farbrace has announced an excellent group of four overseas players coming to Hove during the year including the privilege for us all of once again seeing Cheteshwar Pujara back wearing the Martlets.”

Apart from Pujara, who will be with Sussex for the first seven County Championship matches, they have also signed bowlers Jayden Seales (until June 8) and Nathan McAndrew (June and July) and Aussie batsman Daniel Hughes (late-May onwards).

Filby added: “We are excited by the England Lions call ups for Jack Carson and James Coles and proud of Ollie Robinson and Tymal Mills who have both been picked for full England squads this winter.

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“We are hearing great things about our young players around the world in the winter with Bertie Foreman and Oli Carter in particular enjoying successful seasons in Sydney.

“The arrival of Danny Lamb and John Simpson has brought great new energy to the group and they have both quickly become important members of our squad. There is so much to look forward to from our talented squad in 2024.

“As far as the important decisions to be made about the game are concerned please be clear that I and the Board are working hard to ensure that the best interests of cricket in Sussex, as well as the broader game are taken into account.

“The three most important decisions that affect us are about the future of The Hundred, the future of Women’s professional cricket and the fixture lists for 2025 and beyond that will result from these decisions.

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“As far as The Hundred is concerned, consultation is continuing and as soon as there are concrete proposals developed these will be shared with members and discussed with you in an open forum.

“The women’s regional teams, including the Southern Vipers, are entering their final year before the women’s game returns to the counties.

“In January, we are expecting to receive a tender document from the ECB which will enable Sussex to apply to be one of the eight fully professional county teams that will be set up in 2025 – the ten counties that are not part of the new professional Tier One will become part of Tier Two.

“Members can be assured that Sussex Cricket will be working very hard to demonstrate that given our ground at Hove, the history of excellence in women’s cricket, the availability of outstanding resources at Hove, Blackstone, BACA and an exciting development at the University of Brighton, we are very well placed to be one of the eight.

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“Watch this space for news as that work develops. The availability of top quality cricket of all forms for our members at Hove and indeed at grounds across the county will drive our approach to these key decisions and we are determined to ensure that the cricket lovers of Sussex have more top quality cricket to enjoy in the years ahead.”

Filby said Sussex had received a number of high-quality applications for the role of Chief Executive and interviews are due to be held next week.

"The Board and I are confident that we will be able to make a very good appointment early in the New Year and look forward to sharing that with you,” he added.

"I very much hope to see you back at Hove in April and to sharing news with you on all of the above as we get closer to the start of the season.”