Openers are so solid for Sussex

Chris Nash in action at Arundel. Picture by Phil Westlake SUS-160629-094031001
Chris Nash in action at Arundel. Picture by Phil Westlake SUS-160629-094031001

The focus at Sussex this season has been very much on nurturing players for the future.

Fast bowlers George Garton, Stuart Whittingham and Jofra Archer have all emerged and played their part in both red and white-ball cricket.

Chris Nash. Sussex v Hampshire, NatWest T20. Picture by Phil Westlake SUS-160717-110048001

Chris Nash. Sussex v Hampshire, NatWest T20. Picture by Phil Westlake SUS-160717-110048001

But coach Mark Davis still relies on a core of experienced players – none more so than opening batsman Chris Nash who, along with skipper Luke Wright, is the last survivor of the team which became serial trophy winners a decade ago.

Nash was seriously considered for the captaincy when Ed Joyce stepped down at the end of last season but Davis opted for Wright instead.

The 33-year-old instead poured his energies into re-booting his technique in South Africa under the guidance of Gary Kirsten and on making sure he and Joyce gave Sussex a strong platform in the County Championship.

At Cardiff this week the peerless Joyce passed 1,000 runs for the ninth time in his career and, all being well, Nash will join him on that landmark after making 132 in the first innings against Glamorgan to move onto 994 runs.

Job done, according to Nash.

“At the start of the season we knew it would be a transitional season and that the senior players had to stand up,” he said.

“Ed Joyce and I have put a huge emphasis on our opening partnership and for him to go past 1,000 runs already and me to be on 994 is just what we wanted really, and there are still four more games to go to push on.

We have put a lot of the onus on ourselves to get off to good starts because it takes a bit of pressure off some of the less experienced guys behind us in the middle order.

“I was delighted with the way I played because, on the second day, Glamorgan bowled outstandingly.”

With Essex beating Leicestershire in three days to stretch their lead at the top, Sussex probably need to defeat Glamorgan and win another three matches to have any chance of finishing in the one promotion place.

The likelihood is that Sussex will still be in the second division next season but it remains to be seen whether Joyce, who turns 38 next month, will be striding out with Nash to open the batting.

Davis and Joyce, who is out of contract at the end of the season, will sit down soon to talk about the future but Joyce might be tempted to extend his stay so he can finish his career with 50 first-class hundreds. He is currently on 45.

Meanwhile Nash was among several Sussex players to offer messages of congratulation to coach Phil Hudson, who played club cricket at Horsham with Nash, and his Sussex under-15s after they beat Staffordshire on Thursday to win the Royal London National One-Day final at Kibworth. Among the Sussex team was opening batsman Scott Lenham, who could one day continue the family tradition which is woven into the fabric of Sussex cricket.

His father Neil and grandfather Les both played for the county - as opening batsmen.

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