After a month and five Championship games which have all gone the distance, Sussex batsman Matt Machan admits the transition to white-ball cricket tomorrow will be tough.
Two-thirds of the 18 counties get their NatWest T20 Blast campaign underway on Friday including the Sharks, who face Gloucestershire under the new floodlights at Bristol.
“It’s extremely difficult,” admitted the 25-year-old, who scored his first Championship half-century of the season on Wednesday to help Sussex escape with a draw against Worcestershire. “It’s a completely different game in terms of your mindset, how you prepare in the nets and the techniques you use and for the younger guys especially it takes some getting used to. But it is what it is – you just have to get on with it.”
Apart from a training session on Thursday, Sussex haven’t practiced white-ball cricket since pre-season, although after Friday’s South Group opener they will have a week to sharpen their skills before facing Somerset in their home opener on June 1.
Machan will play a key role for Sussex in the tournament. His experience of playing in the last two World Cups, in the 50 and 20 over formats, for Scotland could be important to what is likely to be a young Sussex team.
The Sharks could do with skipper Luke Wright being available tomorrow, especially as Chris Jordan and Bangladesh seamer Mustafizur Rahman are still at the IPL.
Wright will travel to Bristol but admits he is “not sure” if he will be fit in time. “I’m making progress all the time. I turned a corner last week in terms of my recovery and now I have to build up my strength again,” he said.
“My wrist is fine but getting over two slipped discs is tough so Friday might come too soon. After Friday we have eight days before our next game so that might be a more realistic target.”
Even with some of his big guns missing, Head Coach Mark Davis is looking forward to the start of the tournament. “I’m excited and more importantly so are the players,” said Davis. “We’ve had red-ball cricket since the start of the season so it’s a challenge for them to adapt to a totally different format but they are looking forward to it.
“We’ve had some hard games against Gloucestershire in the last couple of years. They have played well against us but we know what to expect. Every game in the South Group is going to be difficult.”
Rahman has been given time to return to Bangladesh after the IPL and his Blast debut is likely to be against Kent on June 10.
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