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3

Welcome to Hove By Zac Toumazi, Chief Executive

I

t’s a crunch game this evening at Hove against Middlesex Panthers and we are not only delighted to welcome our visitors from the capital to The BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground but it’s our chance to showcase our talents and our fantastic ground to the world, as Sky Sports descend on Hove. I sincerely hope they see a fantastic match which, of course, ends in a Sussex victory! We got the better of our visitors a little over two weeks ago at Lord’s as Luke Wright smashed a superb knock of 81. He inspired us to become the first side to break the 200-mark in this season’s tournament and it was an impressive win for us as the sun shone down on St John’s Wood. A couple of defeats for us around that match where we haven’t quite got over the line has really set up this match as the proverbial ‘six-pointer’; or in T20 terms – four-pointer! Now we’re back in the powder-keg atmosphere of Hove and hopefully we can produce another dominant performance as this tough South Group continues. The Panthers, like us, are of course former winners of the tournament when Ed Joyce, now our very own club captain, led Middlesex to glory in 2008. We managed to wrestle the trophy from their grasp a year later though. They even attracted a crowd in excess of 20,000 to Lord’s recently and that shows the interest in the competition is as high as ever. We’re really pleased with our crowds here at Hove in the opening two home matches of the tournament. Both games attracted crowds of over 6,000 to the ‘Sharktank’

and we hope that many of them are returning this evening. We’re into a really busy period of cricket here at Hove and there’s plenty of chance to make it down to watch some action. In fact, we’ll be entertaining tonight’s opponents in the LV=County Championship from tomorrow – so it’ll be a quick clear-up tonight ahead of tomorrow, and hopefully chance to grab a couple of hours kip! Just a reminder though, play begins at 12.00pm tomorrow and reverts to 11.00am for all other days. I hope you enjoy the action this evening. Good Old Sussex By The Sea!

PINNACLE ExCELLENCE IN vIsuAL CommuNICAtIoN

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MY FIRST XI Ben Brown with his cricketing firsts

CRICKETING MEMORY

Riding my bike on the square at Balcombe Cricket Club!

CRICKETING HERO

Alec Stewart (pictured below)

CRICKET TEAM

Balcombe Cricket Club

BAT

Kookaburra Bubble

HUNDRED OR FIVE FOR

My first first-class ton was against Derbyshire at Horsham in 2010 (pictured right)

GAME WATCHED LIVE

Sussex against Somerset at Hove in 2001

TIME I THOUGHT I MIGHT BE A PROFESSIONAL

That would have been on my 2nd XI debut when I was 15

TIME SOMEONE ASKED FOR MY AUTOGRAPH That same game!

TIME I PLAYED ABROAD That was in Cape Town in 2005

TIME I WAS ON TV

Playing for England Under-19’s against Pakistan

TIME I WON A MAN OF THE MATCH AWARD I’m still waiting!

5


6

Scott Styris

All-rounder: Scott Styris celebrates the wicket of Surrey’s Jason Roy in the game against Surrey earlier this month

STILL GOING STRONG

but Scott Styris isn’t ready to rest on his laurels just yet By Mark Baldwin


7

S

cott Styris is happy to be reminded of the day he etched his name into the Sussex history books – but that doesn’t mean the 37-year-old is ready to live in the past just yet. Styris plays most of his cricket in the shortest formats these days but he still has a lot to offer. The time to reflect will come when he finally calls time on his stellar career. The New Zealander produced one of the finest and arguably most destructive innings ever seen at Hove last July when he blasted 100 off just 37 balls against Gloucestershire in the T20 quarter final – the joint third-fastest innings in the decade-long history of the format. There were nine sixes and five fours as poor James Fuller saw the 18th over disappear for 38 runs including extras. The fifth ball was actually a dot! It propelled Sussex towards their third appearance in Finals Day and won Styris the Walter Lawrence Trophy for the quickest hundred of the summer. It was no surprise that Styris was invited back for a second season with the Sharks – or that talk would inevitably turn to that unforgettable innings.

“It would be nice if the Sussex faithful can see a bit more fireworks from both Dwayne and I and hopefully we can win the title this year.” He said: “I don’t mind people talking about it. I would rather people ask about the positive than the negative. I was delighted to put in that performance when we needed it. “The opening batters had been great for us but we lost Chris Nash and Luke Wright cheaply that night and were put under pressure which we hadn’t been done for the whole competition so to pull out a performance and get us through to finals days, that is what you ask of your overseas player. “For me personally it was nice to do it in a mustwin game as opposed to a group match when it didn’t mean anything. “Yes, it was pleasing and I was able to reflect on that and be happy with my efforts but to be honest I haven’t thought about it too much, it is almost 12 months ago now.”

Styris had no hesitation when he was invited back to Sussex this summer. His family like living in Brighton and they were made to feel at home. The deal had to be done quickly in order to meet work permit regulations as he retired from international cricket in 2011. The added bonus is that he will be linking up with Dwayne Smith, a team-mate when he won the Indian Premier League with Deccan Chargers in 2009. He said: “That is one of the best things about Sussex, that we are made to feel welcome here. “When that is the case it makes you relax a little bit more and you are able to go out there and just play. Because of that Sussex have signed some good overseas players over the last few years, who have then all gone out, done really well and helped the club achieve things. “Dwayne has been here before and loves coming back. It was an easy decision for me to make as well. It would be nice if the Sussex faithful can see a bit of fireworks from us both and hopefully we can win the title this year.”

Scott hits out against Hampshire in our last home game


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9

SOUTH GROUP SCHEDULE 2013 Wednesday June 26

Monday July 15

Ageas Bowl: Hampshire v Surrey

The Oval: Surrey v Essex

Friday June 28

Tuesday July 16

Chelmsford: Essex v Hampshire Canterbury: Kent v Middlesex Hove: Sussex v Surrey

Hove: Sussex v Middlesex

Sunday June 30 Canterbury: Kent v Surrey Lord’s: Middlesex v Sussex

Wednesday July 3 The Oval: Surrey v Sussex

Thursday July 4 Lord’s: Middlesex v Essex

Friday July 5

Friday July 19 The Oval: Surrey v Hampshire

Sunday July 21 Ageas Bowl: Hampshire v Kent Hove: Sussex v Essex

Wednesday July 24 Canterbury: Kent v Sussex

Thursday July 25 Lord’s: Middlesex v Surrey

Canterbury: Kent v Essex The Oval: Surrey v Middlesex Hove: Sussex v Hampshire

Friday July 26

Sunday July 7

Monday July 29

Uxbridge: Middlesex v Kent

Canterbury: Kent v Hampshire

Monday July 8

Wednesday July 31

Chelmsford: Essex v Kent

Friday July 12

Chelmsford: Essex v Surrey Ageas Bowl: Hampshire v Middlesex Hove: Sussex v Kent

Chelmsford: Essex v Middlesex Ageas Bowl: Hampshire v Sussex

Tuesday August 6 and Wednesday 7

Sunday July 14 Chelmsford: Essex v Sussex Richmond: Middlesex v Hampshire

Ageas Bowl: Hampshire v Essex The Oval: Surrey v Kent

Quarter-finals

Saturday August 17 Edgbaston: Semi-finals and final


10

Hampshire Report

SHARKS MISS OUT AGAIN

Thrilling finish as McKenzie guides holders Hampshire to Hove victory


11

S

outh African Neil McKenzie hit a brilliant 71 not out from 50 balls to sweep holders Hampshire Royals a five-wicket win over the Sharks in front of another near full house in our last home match. On a slow pitch, Hampshire needed 12 off the last over but McKenzie got half of them helped by some outrageous fortune when Chris Liddle’s attempt to run him out as he came back for a second run deflected off Ben Brown’s gloves and completely wrong-footed the fielders backing up as it went to the boundary for four overthrows. McKenzie hit the next ball, the third of the over, for four to complete Hampshire’s victory. Earlier, Scott Styris hit 39 off 32 balls while Luke Wright (17) and Chris Nash (23) put on 45 in four overs at the start but good bowling and fielding restricted the Sharks to 145 for 6. ROBBO’S VERDICT: “We have been on the wrong end of three very close games and that is obviously frustrating. Hampshire got a big slice of luck with the four overthrows but, to be fair, McKenzie played a very good innings for them although we didn’t do too much wrong.”

Ben Brown just fails to make his ground

Matt Machan clips one off his legs Mike Yardy celebrates with wicket-taker Will Beer

A colourful section of another big crowd


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13

The Stats Page AVERAGES 2013

this week’s FIXTURES Glos v Northants Northants v Somerset

Batting Player Mat Inns NO Runs HS

SB Styris 4 MH Yardy 4 LJ Wright 4 RJ H-B 4 CD Nash 4 DR Smith 4 BC Brown 4 MW Machan 2 JS Gatting 2 CJ Jordan 4 WAT Beer 4

4 2 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 2 1

2 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 1

120 71 115 85 85 63 16 25 11 5 6

46 44 81 47 45 26 13 20 11 3* 6*

Ave SR

60 35.5 28.75 21.75 21.75 21 16 12.5 11 5 -

142.85 98.61 143.75 137.09 137.09 143.18 76.19 80.64 64.7 125 150

Bowling Player Overs Mdns Runs Wkts BBI CD Nash 10 WAT Beer 11 DR Smith 5 MH Yardy 16 SB Styris 10 CJ Jordan 14.3 CJ Liddle 12 LJ Wright 1

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

62 71 33 106 74 126 121 11

Ave Econ

3 2 -26 20.66 3 1 -15 23.66 2 2 -11 16.5 6 3 - 30 17.66 1 1 - 21 74 6 2 - 29 21 4 2 -19 30.25 0

6.2 6.45 6.6 6.62 7.4 8.68 10.08 11

Notts v Durham Somerset v Glamorgan Surrey v Hampshire

sharks’ results Opponent Hampshire

Home

Away

Lost 5 wkts July 12th

Essex

July 21st

Kent

July 31st

July 14th July 24th

Middlesex

July 16th

Won 24 runs

Surrey

Lost 10 runs Lost 3 runs

All home games at The BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground

YOU NEED TO KNOW

Averages up to and including July 5

Each bowler allowed maximum of 4 overs

SOUTH GROUP TABLE

Power plays are mandatory in the first 6 overs

P W L T No Res Pts Net r/r Surrey 5 4 1 0 0 8 0.493

Duckworth-Lewis calculations will be made in the event of a rain-affected match, providing five overs have been bowled.

Two points are awarded for a win

Middlesex 5

3

2

0

0

6

0.113

Hampshire 3

2

0

0

1

5

0.419

Essex

3 1 1 0 1 3 1.014

Sussex

4

Kent

4 0 0 4 0 0 -1.696

1

3

0

0

2

0.051

T20 COMING UP..... TICKETS 0844 264 0206 or WWW.SUSSEXCRICKET.CO.UK/TICKETS Sunday, July 21 v Essex Eagles - 2.40pm, BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground


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MIKE YARDY

stars


MY FIRST XI

17

Sharks’ all-rounder Mike

Yardy with his selections

CRICKETING MEMORY

Watching my Dad play for Battle Cricket Club

CRICKETING HERO Brian Lara, another left-hander (pictured right)

CRICKET TEAM Battle Cricket Club

BAT

Gray Nicolls Dynadrive

HUNDRED OR FIVE FOR

TIME I THOUGHT I MIGHT BE A PROFESSIONAL

The tour to Barbados in 1997 with the Sussex Academy

TIME SOMEONE ASKED FOR MY AUTOGRAPH

In 2000 which was my first year as a professional with Sussex

150 not out for Battle Under-12s versus Lewes and 7 for 46 for Sussex Under-11s against Middlesex at Arundel

TIME I PLAYED ABROAD

GAME WATCHED LIVE

TIME I WON A MAN OF THE MATCH AWARD

Sussex versus Australia at Hove in 1993 (Brendon Julian bowling in the game for Australia, pictured above)

Again, on the Barbados tour in 1997

TIME I WAS ON TV

Against Hampshire at The Rose Bowl in 2001. I got a duck!

Against the Scottish Saltires in a one-day game in 2004


SCORE

18 SUSSEX SHARKS BATSMAN 1 CD Nash *

HOW OUT

2

LJ Wright

10

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

RJ Hamilton-Brown DR Smith SB Styris JS Gatting MH Yardy BC Brown + CJ Jordan WAT Beer CJ Liddle

27 50 56 25 20 26 8 18 11

BOWLER

BOWLER

SCORE

23

OVERS

MDNS

RUNS

BYES LEG BYES NO BALLS WIDES WICKETS TOTAL

WKTS

UMPIRES: Martin Bodenham and Jeremy Lloyds. 3rd umpire: Nick Cook

FALL OF WICKET SCORE

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

SUSSEX SHARKS OVER

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

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14

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MIDDLESEX PANTHERS OVER

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Sussex CCC Official Partners and Sponsors 2013 Major Sponsor

Box Holders

Farnrise Construction

COBB PR Cardens Accountants DW Electrical Farnrise Construction Fireco Insightful Direction KEW Electrical Preston Insurance Brokers RDF Group

Ground Sponsor

BrightonandHoveJobs.com Official Beer Partner

Greene King

South-West Stand Sponsor

Herbalife

Boundary Rooms Sponsor

The Montefiore Hospital

Executive Suite Sponsor

Mayo Wynne Baxter

Official Vehicle Supplier

Rivervale Cars

Official Kit Supplier

MKK Sports

Friends Life t20 Competition Sponsor

Greene King

Academy Ground Sponsor

Sutton Winson Insurance and Risk Managers Corporate Partners

Absolute Magazine

Brewin Dolphin Crawley Town FC Crimson Hotels: Official Hotel Partner Davis TV: Official AV Supplier Feel Good Drinks: Official Juice Drinks Par Flowers Unlimited: Official Flowers Partne Focus Group: Official Energy Partner Focus Group: Official Telecoms Partner Herbalife: Official Nutrition Partner Incredible Sports Company Juice FM: Official Media Partner Kestrin Languard: Official Security Partner Nsure Pinnacle Group: Official Publishing Partne Pro-X: Official Print Partner


CARD

MIDDLESEX PANTHERS BATSMAN 17 AM Rossington + 29 DJ Malan 10 JL Denly 3 AC Voges 7 EJG Morgan 4 NJ Dexter * 24 JH Davey 8 GK Berg 2 OP Rayner 21 TS Roland-Jones 36 RH Patel BOWLER

HOW OUT

OVERS

MDNS

BOWLER

RUNS

SCORE

BYES LEG BYES NO BALLS WIDES WICKETS TOTAL

WKTS

SCORERS: Mike Charman and Don Shelley

FALL OF WICKET SCORE 17

18

19

20

17

18

19

20

rtner er

er

19

1

2

Rabbit Skips: Official Waste Partner Reactive Interiors: Official Flooring Partner Rushfields Garden Centre: Official Plant Partner Silver Star Cleaning Spire Orthopedic Centre: Official Medical Advisors Sporting Signs: Official Signage Partner Sportwise Marketing Sussex Transport: Official Transport Partner The Argus: Official Media Partner The Classic Watch Company Travel Places: Official Flight Partner Wealden Medical Services: Official Paramedic Partner Players Club

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Community Partners

Santander Corporate Banking Farnrise Construction

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Charity Partners

Lord’s Taverners Martlets Hospice Rockinghorse Children’s Charity Sussex Cricket Combined Appeal 2013 Wooden Spoon


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25

Scott Styris looked to be steering Sussex to victory – until Jade Dernbach rearranged his stumps with this delivery

DERNBACH THE DESTROYER Surrey pace ace is the difference again

F

or the second time against Sussex in this season’s Friends Life T20, Surrey paceman Jade Dernbach proved the difference as the Sharks’ visit to the Kia Oval ended in a dramatic three-run defeat. Dernbach took 2 for 18 from his four overs including the key wicket of Scott Styris, who had two stumps ripped out by a yorker after the Kiwi’s belligerent 46 had got the equation for a Sussex victory down to 14 from the last two overs. The penultimate over from Dernbach went for just two

and left Sussex with too much to do. Earlier, in front of a crowd of nearly 12,000, Gary Wilson had scored an unbeaten 39 in Surrey’s 144 for 9 while umpire Trevor Jesty was none the worse after a drive from Jason Roy struck him on the shoulder. ROBBO’S VERDICT: “We had two great games with Surrey. We lost them both and we know they could have easily gone the other way. We did a lot of things right but a couple of things wrong.”


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CHRIS NASH Q&A

27

Sharks’ skipper Chris Nash reflects on the T20 campaign so far

T20: Captaining a side successfully in t20 is the cricketing equivalent to completing a Rubik’s cube in record time. Is it an experience you enjoy? It is if you win. There are times when, in the middle of the innings and when two batsmen get set and just push it around, you think you could go off and take a nap for 10 overs and it wouldn’t make a difference. But, more often than not, it’s a real buzz. for a midweek game! It would make things very hard One thing is for sure, as captain it hurts more in every indeed. What we do know is that if you do win the South way if you lose because you know you’re ultimately Group you’ve got a good chance of going on to win judged on results. it. To my mind playing in a tough qualifying group is brilliant preparation and gives you a better chance Do you have set plans when in the field as of going all the way. As a captain, I’d possibly prefer skipper? to win the last five games than the first five because In many ways you can’t do that. You can decide Twenty20 is all about momentum. It’s all about who you want to bowl your first over and to what field, but after that, it’s all out the window and down learning your lessons and staying positive. It’s certainly not a format where you can afford to get down on to thinking on your feet. It all depends on the pitch, yourself. the conditions and what the other side are up to. Yards (Michael Yardy) gave me some good advice when I took it on, in saying that every over bowled is your decision. You’ll make right ones, and some wrong ones. Make 20 right ones and you’re a genius! The reality is you go with your gut instinct, use the knowledge you’ve got and then hope for the best!

Historically, counties have signed gun batters as their overseas option for t20, but this season Middlesex, Kent and Hampshire have plumped for death bowlers. Is that significant? I don’t think so. It’s all about who is available for the whole competition and who fits the bill in terms of strengthening each squad – and that can vary The South Group has been dubbed the ‘group from season-to-season. Over the years we have gone of death’ as it gets more difficult with every for death bowlers like Yasir Arafat and Rana Naved season to qualify for the knockout stages. Would you support a move away from regional and they were brilliant, but this year we went for all-rounders in Dwayne Smith and Scott Styris. If they qualification? Logistically that’s almost impossible, simply because both fire with the bat, with me, Luke Wright and RHB (Rory Hamilton-Brown) for support, then we’ll get big of the potential amount of travelling we’d have to do. Imagine us going from Hove to Chester-le-Street totals and will back our bowlers to defend them.


Enjoy cricket with Friends Proud sponsors of the Friends Life t20 competition www.facebook.com/FriendsLifet20 www.twitter.com/FriendslifeT20 #withfriends www.friendslife.co.uk/t20 Friends Life Group Plc is the parent company of all the companies in the Friends Life group. This group includes Friends Life Services Limited, which has approved this advertisement, and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Friends Life is a business name of companies in the Friends Life group of companies. www.friendslife.com SP003 03.13


29

FLEXIBILITY THE KEY

Middlesex all-rounder Gareth Berg reflects on how T20 continues to evolve I’m enjoying my sixth season of T20 and I’ve noticed a lot of changes in that time . . . the biggest of which is that batsmen are coming a lot harder at us bowlers these days. Teams are starting to know what good targets should be on the various grounds, so there’s a lot more pressure than there used to be. As a bowler you’ve got to have more variation and two or three plans for your one death over. If plan A doesn’t work, then you have to be flexible and go to the next. Playing T20 always feels like a no-win situation for a bowler because . . . we know the crowd come here to watch the batters clearing the ropes and historically teams have gone for gun batters. But this season, a couple of the South Group counties have signed top bowlers like Kyle Mills with us at Middlesex, Shaun Tait at Essex and Vernon Philander with Kent. It’s a different way of looking at things because the best way for a fielding side to create pressure in T20 is to take wickets. If those guys fire and bowl at decent pace, they will still drag the big crowds in. Twenty20 has gone global now and cricketers can earn good money from it . . . unfortunately I’m at the back end of my career now so it’s probably beyond my reach but if youngsters can nail the T20 format early, then the world’s an attractive place now in terms of IPL with Bangladesh, Caribbean Premier League, The Big Bash and even in New Zealand. There is serious money to be earned, but there is a fine balance. The authorities mustn’t forget that we are all really here to play red-ball cricket, and it’s the skills you learn there that will ultimately stand you in the best stead.

Thanks to t20, death bowling has become an art form and Shaun Tait is the best I’ve seen at it so far . . . he is so clever and fast-thinking, on top of which he has amazing presence at the crease. He’s quite an intimidating bowler. When I’m running in to bowl for Middlesex one of the batters I least like to see down the other end is Darren Stevens of Kent. He’s one of the best players on the T20 circuit and I’m really surprised that with his class and firepower that he’s not playing for England. He’s a great finisher and offers you something, on the right surfaces, in terms of ‘wicket-to-wicket’ bowling as well. He’d go down really well in places like India and Sri Lanka. There’s no doubt that the clubs down in the south have the toughest group when it comes to T20 . . . it is a shame, but it’s what we’re dealt with and we just have to get on with it. In this format the better team can sometimes lose, so it depends on which players turn up on the day. I’d like to see it as a nationwide draw because it would add more variety. It is getting to the stage now that there are plenty of teams out there who we don’t play white-ball cricket against for years. Interview: Mark Pennell


30

Middlesex

MIXED FEELINGS

Ollie Rayner is back at Hove tonight with the Panthers but admits it’s not a game he is necessarily looking forward to!

What are the biggest changes you have witnessed during the first decade of the T20 format? Teams and bowlers picking up on and honing the techniques from the IPL so that the ball reverseswings within the 20 overs. The number of different shots has increased with the ramp, the ‘Dilscoop’ and reverse sweep and the bats have got bigger and heavier. Not only that, but the batsmen are fearless. It’s just a great form of the game.

night out’, so you can see how T20 has helped clubs market the game, and we all benefit from that as a result.

You are one of the few spinners to open the bowling in T20. Is it a role you revel in? I think Robert Croft was the first to try it at Glamorgan, and although I was keen to try during my time at Sussex I don’t remember ever being given the chance. I generally quite enjoy doing it for Middlesex. Sure, you can get whacked, but generally In terms of aspiration, what’s is more important it’s as good a time as any to bowl. With a new ball to a modern-day cricketer: winning a Test cap or you can’t expect to spin the cover off it, so I just try to chasing IPL and T20 dollars? skid it into the pads and leg stump area. More than I think for 90 per cent of first-class cricketers the anything you have to want to do it and I do like the pinnacle is still Test cricket, but you have to say that challenge. People opening the batting may want to T20 has really helped a lot of cricketers to make a have a little look first, so I may just get away with it. If really decent living. T20 has brought a lot to the someone does fly at you, what can you do anyway? game of cricket, it has put us into the limelight as a You just have to take it on the chin. In charge: Alec Stewart (left) had sport and I believe caninonly be a good thing. At a mentoring role atthat Surrey 2010 Kent games on Friday nights, they call it ‘The lads It has become known as ‘the group of death’, so hisT20 new job won’t be unfamiliar


31 two early catchers that was unfair to the bowlers and only helped set the game up for batters. Which Twenty20 game do you look forward to most every season? Middlesex and Surrey. Not just because of the rivalry between the two sets of players, but it’s two London clubs slogging it out in front of 20,000, whether it’s at Lord’s or The Oval. It’s the closest thing I’ll ever experience to playing in an international. You don’t get nervous because you just get excited. There’s so much going on that your adrenalin just takes over. It’s brilliant. Although it’s my old club I don’t necessarily enjoy the playing side against Sussex, but I do like going back to see everyone.

Ollie Rayner batting for Middlesex against Surrey in front of 20,000 at The Oval

so would the teams making up the very difficult South Group prefer a straight regional draw in the early stages of T20? Yes and no. Through basic financial reasons and just for the problems of travelling long distances midweek you can understand why we play regional groups. On the plus side it brings local rivalry and grudge matches to the group stages and, if you do finish top of the South Group then, arguably, you are likely to go on and do well in the tournament overall. On the flip side, if we keep it this way the sides we then meet in the quarter-finals onwards are pretty much unknown quantities. The reality is, the season is packed as it is, so I think the southern clubs will have to live with it. If there is one thing you could change with T20 what would it be? Older cheerleaders! But seriously, there’s not too much I’d change because I think the format is pretty good now. They’ve taken away the stipulation of the

Who is the most improved player you’ve seen in T20 recently? I’ve got to say my old mate at Sussex, Luke Wright. He has matured a lot, he has a wife and a young child now, and that responsibility is showing in his game. We played them in a four-day game in June when they got a draw when they seemed down and out and Wright scored 180-odd, which was a really mature innings. Then, he can come into T20 and smack a hundred off 50 balls, which makes him very dangerous and a global commodity in terms of T20. He’s a much cleverer batsman these days, too, so good luck to the lad. Interview: Mark Pennell

Most improved: Luke Wright


32

T20 10th Anniversary

Life changing: Graham Napier found T20 riches around the world after his 158 against Sussex in 2008 dramatically raised his profile

THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS

As the TV cameras come to Hove tonight, David Fulton, the Sky Sports presenter and former Kent captain, gives his take on the first ten years of T20

I

can remember the time Twenty20 was introduced to professional cricketers. Stuart Robertson, then a marketing manager at the England and Wales Cricket Board, had a PowerPoint presentation going on and was talking about consumers, products and market research. His message was that we were in the entertainment business, yet needed to engage with new customers, and he was speaking at

the Professional Cricketers’ Association AGM at Edgbaston. I was one of 180 county cricketers who had no idea that the seed being sown would germinate into a revolution that has transformed cricket. Back in early 2003 concepts of the Indian Premier League, Big Bash and the ICC World Twenty20 were as foreign as some of the language coming from the visionary that was Robertson. The following season, though, Twenty20 was upon us.


33 At first the players viewed it as ‘hit and giggle’ cricket. This was about putting on a show for the crowd, playing with a smile on your face and trying to play with freedom. That’s not to say we didn’t want to win the tournament, more that we doubted it would rival the County Championship in terms of significance or a Lord’s final as an occasion. How wrong we were. Certainly theories abounded as to the best way to approach it. Pace off the ball, yorkers, tuck the batsman up all seemed legitimate. As Kent’s captain in 2003, I also believed we should chase as no one knew what a good score was. My simplistic rationale was that a game is rarely lost at half time by the team fielding first, whereas if you go too hard too early and are 50 for 5 you can get bowled out for less than 120. At Kent, we opened the bowling with James Tredwell’s spin and Alamgir Sheriyar’s left-arm swing to a predominantly leg-side field.

“At first the players viewed T20 as ‘hit and giggle’ cricket. This was about putting on a show for the crowd, playing with a smile on your face and trying to play with freedom.” When batting we decided the six-over power play would be crucial. We’d rather be 60 for 3 than 30 for 0 as getting bowled out was unlikely in 20 overs. Stack the top order with power-hitters, proper batsmen in the middle for solidity and nous in a run-chase, and then the bowlers if we needed them. I honestly thought spinners would be hit out of the game because the format would give batsmen licence to go big at every opportunity. Another quandary was which type of star overseas players would best fit the bill? Mystery spin had proved successful in the championship. The likes of Shane Warne, Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq could bowl long spells offering a side a constant attacking threat, while affording the pacemen a rest. Yet in T20 these players would only have four overs to influence the game. In Andrew Symonds and Greg Blewett - and a year later Shahid Afridi - we thought we’d found the perfect T20 cricketers: all-rounders

who could impact the game in a variety of different ways and whatever the situation. So much for my pre-tournament theories. Batting first proved to be the way to go. Spinners often held the key with batsmen holing out on the boundary edge. And teams with the best bowling attacks were the hardest to beat. Yes, Symonds had some great match-winning moments but too often he would smack one up in the air for less than 20. When he opened with Afridi in 2004 (Symonds’ call as designated captain) they tried to out-hit each other, and 20 for 2 off two overs with both big guns gone would give an opposition a huge psychological advantage. Look at the Middlesex team that won in 2008 and you’ll find overseas bowlers Dirk Nannes and Murali Kartik complemented by Tyrone Henderson, Tim Murtagh and Shaun Udal. Last year’s leading players were Dimitri Mascerenhas and Mitchell Starc. Of course there have been some memorable innings played, many in front of the Sky Sports cameras that have helped spread the game to a wider audience: Scott Styris’ quarter-final century off 37 balls against Gloucestershire Gladiators at Hove last year was simply sensational, while Graham Napier’s 152 off 58 in 2008 against the Sharks was the kind... TURN TO PAGE 34


34

T20 10th Anniversary

of box-office entertainment that Robertson and his fellow founding fathers had dared to dream of in the beginning. That brutal assault catapulted Napier onto the biggest Twenty20 stage, the IPL, with all its riches and world-class stars. That innings and Napier’s subsequent travels changed our domestic T20 competition. Hit and

“Before he became more famous for an ill-judged right hook in a Birmingham bar, David Warner was the T20 phenomenon who represented Australia in the game’s shortest form before playing a first-class match.” giggle had suddenly become serious, an opportunity for county players to change their careers with one extraordinary eye-catching performance. A new breed of players began scooping and ramping and switch-hitting their way to centre stage. Where once a solid defence and honed technique had been the foundations upon which careers were built, and livelihoods forged, these swashbuckling upstarts had a new path to fame and fortune. Before he became more famous for an ill-judged right hook in a Birmingham bar, David Warner was the T20 phenomenon who represented Australia in the game’s shortest form before playing a first-class game. County players like Owais Shah and Sussex’s Luke Wright assumed the mantle of T20 ‘specialists’ collecting almost as many air miles as they have dollars. The impact of T20 is being felt in the longer forms, too. The intensity of T20 meant players had to sharpen their skills. Games were decided by small margins so every ball counted. The result has been that teams are sharper in the field in all cricket. Bowlers ought to be better at getting their yorkers in, or at being hard to predict. Batsmen hit harder, score more quickly, improvise more readily. Where teams would once fail to chase 300 on day four of a championship match, scores of 400 were being reeled in with overs to spare.

There have been drawbacks. Batsmen seem less prepared to build a first-class innings. Leaving the ball well outside off stump on a green pitch is a fading art, while bowlers sometimes aim for variations when consistently hitting a line and length is the order of the day. Captains rarely set imaginative declarations or aggressive field-settings because a mindset of stopping runs rather than taking wickets is more prevalent now. Yet the overall feeling is positive. T20 has been great, a shot in the arm for county finances and an opportunity for cricket to widen its appeal. It is allowing cricket to move with the times but the format must be managed well. Too much of it can numb the senses. Leave the customer wanting more. As for many of the players, it is the time they enjoy the most. Bigger crowds, more razzmatazz. It feels like they’re in the entertainment business at last.

Sensational Styris: Sussex’s Kiwi all-rounder on his way to a 37-ball hundred against Gloucestershire Gladiators in last season’s quarter-final


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Sussex V Middlesex T20  

Sussex V Middlesex T20 Match Day Programme

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