Wright cannot wait for T20 opener

Luke Wright admits he’s had Friday’s date pencilled in his diary for a while.

New Sussex T20 captain Luke Wright
New Sussex T20 captain Luke Wright

Sussex Sharks’ NatWest T20 Blast opener against Kent at Canterbury will also be the first time the team will be led by the 30-year-old all-rounder after his appointment as one-day captain.

Wright said: “I can’t wait. It’s going to be a very proud day for me captaining the team for the first time. There will probably be a few nerves but that’s a good thing I think. I am desperate for us to do well in T20 this year and it’s important that we try and get off to a good start and set the tone for the tournament as a whole.”

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With his vast experience of the format, Wright was the obvious choice to lead Sussex this season.

He has played more than 200 domestic T20s in tournaments all over the world as well as 51 T20 internationals, the highlight back in 2010 when he helped England win the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean with Sharks’ team-mate Mike Yardy alongside him.

But it’s domestic T20 which is his focus these days, whether it be the Big Bash in Australia – where he has played for Melbourne Stars for the last two years – or here at home, where he is desperate to lead Sussex to finals day for the first time since 2012. Sussex’s one and only win in the competition came under Yardy at Edgbaston in 2009 and they haven’t got out of the South Group in the last two years.

Injuries could affect Sussex’s early progress. Wright is likely to be without four seamers, including Tymal Mills and Ajmal Shahzad, for their opener and Sunday’s home game against Gloucestershire.

But he will be able to tap into the considerable expertise of Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardene, who will be with Sussex for the first half of the campaign before being replaced by George Bailey, who is captain of Australia’s T20 team.

“On paper it’s a very strong squad,” added Wright. “T20 is a game of small margins and a few times in the last couple of years we’ve been on the wrong side of the equation. But the more quality players you have the better your chances of winning and I am excited about our squad, not just the new guys but players like Yards, Nashy (Chris Nash) and Beero (Will Beer), who have got a lot of experience in T20 and the potential to win games for us.”

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