Sussex Cricket reveal pair who will share men’s head coach responsibilities in 2021

Sussex Cricket will split the role of men’s head coach for the 2021 season.

James Kirtley (left) and Ian Salisbury (right) at The 1st Central County Ground - Picture courtesy of Sussex Cricket
James Kirtley (left) and Ian Salisbury (right) at The 1st Central County Ground - Picture courtesy of Sussex Cricket

Current spin bowling coach, Ian Salisbury, will take charge during the first-class and one-day portions of the season, while current pace bowling coach, James Kirtley, will be responsible for the T20 competition.

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Reacting to his appointment, Salisbury said: “I am immensely proud, honoured and humbled to be given this opportunity at the club where my professional cricketing journey started in 1989.

“The chance to work in unison with James is one I’m hugely excited about. Our shared vision and strategy is to bring sustained success to Sussex. We have the talent within the squad and the potential talent coming through from the most impressive academy in the country to achieve this.

“Everyone in the club will unite in challenging and supporting the players to be brave and perform on the cricketing stage. Our aim is to once again make staff, supporters, future supporters, sponsors and players proud to be involved with Sussex cricket.”

Kirtley said: “I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity with the T20 team and very grateful to the club for entrusting me with this role. I am very much looking forward to working with Luke Wright and the rest of the squad in delivering silverware to this Club.

“It will be exciting to help find the next level with the T20 side and with the help of the coaching staff, senior players and analysts I am confident we will be successful in discovering the small margins and making the changes necessary to take us further in the competition.

“It will be great to continue working with Ian Salisbury in the other competitions. We have worked in tandem for a number of teams over the course of the last five years and obviously back to our playing days at Sussex.

“We have a vision for the club and I hope we can deliver this through a very thought-out strategic approach over the course of time.”

Performance director Keith Greenfield added: “Ian and James are impressive individuals and will be a powerful combination working together. They have already shown us their different qualities in running our bio bubble environments for England Test and white-ball training as well as with the Sussex professional squad during the summer months and in our reviews since.

“They are clear on the strategy needed going forward. They have established relationships with our current squad and leadership group. With virtually all our players here over the winter, we need to crack on as soon as possible with the improvements and growth that will lead to winning trophies.

“This is a great opportunity with us, with split coaching roles a pro-active new course for the club and one that you will see others follow in the future.”

Chief executive Rob Andrew explained the strategy behind the decision: “As we head into the winter with so much uncertainty, we wanted to give clarity to everyone involved with the club. Ian and James have worked well together both here and elsewhere, are passionate about the club and have a clear vision for all formats.

“The county game will evolve further next year with the launch of The Hundred, and this is a move taken with that in mind.

“We have developed a strong T20 team and now have several players who focus on white ball cricket only. We believe that is a trend that will continue to grow in the future and we need to be able to cater for this.

“The Royal London Cup will be played during The Hundred, when we will have players missing. This will enable us to continue to develop our young players during the 50-over competition.

“Our four-day form has been disappointing for a few years and we have a clear strategy to build a successful team over the coming years, primarily with home grown players and high quality overseas where appropriate.”

Between them, Ian and James made over 600 senior appearances and took nearly 1,500 wickets for Sussex after making their debuts in 1989 and 1995 respectively. Both have played at the highest level, representing England a combined 35 times.

Prior to his roles with Sussex, James has been involved with coaching Namibia, England Women, England Physical Disability and Bede’s School. Ian has worked with England Women, England U17s and U19s, Berkshire, Surrey and was head coach of the England Physical Disability squad from 2017 until earlier this year.