Warwickshire, a club returning to Division Two this season, will be looking to start their push for promotion as they mean to go on, and Sussex, who have been narrowly missing out on promotion for a number of seasons, will be hoping this year their luck changes and they can secure one of the top spots.
The start of the County Championship always draws plenty of excitement, indicating the start of a summer of cricket to fans, so both teams will be hoping to put in strong performances to encourage their supporters.
Sussex, who are led by the much-lauded Jason Gillespie, do have an exciting, youthful squad which consists of strong senior players such as Luke Wright and also some impressive young talent including George Garton and Ollie Robinson.
This mix could see them have a real chance of promotion. After finishing 4th last season, Sussex will believe that once again they can challenge and with the squad they have, there is no reason why they can’t.
Warwickshire, who had an extremely disappointing season in 2017 which saw them win only one of their games and finishing on only 86 points, will be fancying their chances at getting promoted back into Division One.
Last season will be one they hope to forget and will want to make significant improvements in both the batting and bowling department. New addition Will Rhodes from Yorkshire and Olly Stone returning to full fitness again, could provide new strength to the squad, enabling them to go in search of the Division Two title.
Both teams will be sporting newly appointed captains, Ben Brown for Sussex taking over from Luke Wright who stepped down to focus on his individual performances, and Jeetan Patel is the new Club captain for Warwickshire. This game will provide a perfect opportunity for both captains to make their mark on the teams and to get their campaigns off to a winning start.
For Warwickshire, Dom Sibley, is aiming to put plenty of performances in at the top of the order and make a good impression as the vice-captain for the Bears. Coming from Surrey last season, he was one of the signings to help boost the struggling Warwickshire side and this season will be wanting to improve on the runs he scored last season to give Warwickshire the best chance of promotion.
Luke Wells, who was Sussex’s leading run scorer last season, scoring 1,292 runs which included four centuries and four fifties will be one to watch. If he can produce the same performances he did last season, then Sussex will be able to deliver consistently high totals, which will be vitally important if they are to secure a promotion place.
Jeetan Patel leads a squad which includes new signing Will Rhodes and exciting young talent such as Sam Hain and Henry Brookes. Experienced former England pair Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott are also included.
Warwickshire Squad: Jeetan Patel (c), Tim Ambrose (wk), Keith Barker, Ian Bell, Henry Brookes, Sam Hain, Adam Hose, Matthew Lamb, Will Rhodes, Dom Sibley, Ryan Sidebottom, Olly Stone, Jonathan Trott, Chris Wright
Ben Brown takes over captaincy duties from Luke Wright and leads a squad with youth and experience. India seamer Ishant Sharma is the overseas signing for the first part of the summer and will lead a pace attack that includes exciting young talents Ollie Robinson and Stuart Whittingham.
Sussex Squad: Ben Brown (c/wk), Will Beer, Michael Burgess, Harry Finch, Ollie Robinson, Phil Salt, Ishant Sharma, Will Sheffield, Stiaan van Zyl, Stuart Whittingham, David Wiese, Luke Wells, Luke Wright
Weather & Conditions
The start of the season is no doubt on the colder side, with some showers also going to be around on Friday so a flask would perhaps be desired. But it looks dry for the other days, with some suggestions of 16-degree weather…tropical! Pitch looked to be a little green in the friendlies.
Date: 13th – 16th April 2018
Odds: Warwickshire 4/6, Draw, Sussex 6/5