Ravi Bopara: Sussex Sharks aiming high in 2022 Vitality Blast

Sussex Sharks are aiming to go a couple of stages better than last year and win the T20 Vitality Blast, says new T20 captain Ravi Bopara.

Falling at the semi-final stage last year to eventual winners Kent, the Sharks are feeling good about their chances after bringing in Steven Finn, Cheteshwar Pujara and Mohammad Rizwan. They’ve also seen a change in captaincy with Luke Wright stepping aside to focus on his batting with Bopara taking over.

Sussex have not won the T20 since 2009 but Bopara is confident in his side’s ability to bring the trophy back to Sussex. “My aim is to win the trophy; it was great getting to finals day and that makes it a successful year but I want to win the trophy.” Bopara said.

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New Sharks T20 skipper Ravi Bopara / Picture: Getty

“If you look at the season it was a success to get to finals day but anything can happen on the day, it’s only 20 overs, the game can change in six balls. With the team we had we really wanted to win it and it really felt like that was our year, we were going to win it. But to get knocked out the game before the final hurts so we want to go on and win it this year.

“We aim to win trophies; we don’t aim to just win the odd game and keep up with the pack. We want to win and be the best in the country.”

Sussex have lost Chris Jordan to Surrey and Phil Salt to Lancashire but have managed to tempt former England international Finn down to the south coast to bolster an already talented squad. “Finny is a great lad and he’s been playing cricket for a long time, deep down he’s got points to prove for someone who’s had so much success in his career. He wants to keep being successful and it’s great to have someone like that," Bopara said

“It’s great to have him around for the T20 blast and I really hope he can have a good year for himself. The team’s set up really good and the squad hasn’t really changed a lot, obviously a couple of the players have gone which everyone knows about, but we’ve got the players to replace that. Rizwan is coming in, Jofra Archer is coming back so he is going to be playing a bit of cricket for us.

“I’m excited with these boys, I’ve been lucky to inherit such a good squad and props have to go to Wrighty (Luke Wright) and Sussex as a club along with James Kirtley (T20 head coach) for having that focus on white ball cricket and bringing in the right players to go on and win trophies.

“I think with any T20 side, getting through to finals day is a big success because the chances of you getting there is quite slim. You’ve got 18 counties going for four spots so to get through to that level or even your group is a successful year.”