Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Leicestershire v Sussex

Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Leicestershire v Sussex

Sussex will be hoping to push their promotion credentials at Leicester this week

Sussex will be arriving in Leicester full of confidence having had Northamptonshire on the ropes before bad light brought a premature end to their match in the last round. They are also boosted by the arrival of their star overseas batter, Cheteshwar Pujara. They have a potent new ball attack with West Indian Jayden Seales and a fully fit Ollie Robinson, who bowled with good pace at Hove. It seems likely that Robinson’s workload will be carefully monitored and there is a chance he may be rested from this game and play against Gloucestershire, given that Sussex are missing the fourth round of fixtures. They were heavily reliant on Tom Haines, James Coles and the lower order for runs against Northamptonshire, with Tom Clark, Tom Alsop and Oli Carter scoring only 20 runs between them, but one of Alsop or Carter will be making way for Pujara. As well as the seamers, Sussex were also well served by the spin duo of Coles and Jack Carson, taking eight of the 19 wickets to fall.

Meanwhile Leicestershire had a tough opener at Headingley against most people’s favourites for the Division Two title. As so often in the past, they were up to the task, resisting the much vaunted Yorkshire seam attack. There were runs all down the order, Ben Mike top scoring with 90 having gone in at nine, as they reached 354. He then led the wicket taking with 4/44 as Leicestershire saw out a comfortable draw, albeit a significant amount of the match was lost to the weather. Marcus Harris has come in and scored a half century and the batting looks more of a threat than the bowling. Chris Wright missed the trip to Headingley for family reasons and will strengthen the attack. They are heavily reliant on seam with Liam Trevaskis looking as if he will replace Rehan Ahmed this week, Ahmed having been released to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Trevaskis, a left arm orthodox spinner, made the reverse move to Callum Parkinson, from Durham over the winter. He took two wickets in two appearances for Durham in the Championship last summer.

Sussex will start as favourites, especially if Robinson plays, but Leicestershire are a tough nut to crack.

Key players:

Ben Mike is a product of the Leicestershire Academy, signing his first professional contract in 2018, as he turned 20. He rejected a contract offer to stay at Leicestershire in 2022, instead signing a three year deal with Yorkshire. Following his move he struggled to secure a first team place, playing just one Championship game in 2023, although he did feature more in white ball cricket and has now returned to Leicestershire. A dashing all rounder, he certainly demonstrated to his old employer last week what they had given up. He has scored 1439 first class runs at 25.69 and taken 84 wickets at 37.6.

Sussex seem to have all bases covered when it comes to their squad and with so many young players, they should continue to improve. One of those is opener Tom Haines, whose 133 last week demonstrated why he is considered one of the best top order batters in the country. He is just 25-years-old and will be looking to improve on his performances from last year. He scored 662 runs at 33.10, which while an acceptable effort was down on his career average of 37.88. He scored a 1000 runs in the 2022 season, during which he captained Sussex and went on to tour Sri Lanka with the England Lions, scoring a century on his debut against Sri Lanka A. He is the third highest run scorer in county cricket this decade with over 3000 runs.

Team News:

The Foxes will be hoping Chris Wright will be available. Josh Hull and Roman Walker are recovering from side strains and Ahmed will miss at least the next two games.

Leicestershire squad (probable): Lewis Hill (c), Sol Budinger, Ben Cox (wk), Scott Currie, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Louis Kimber, Ben Mike, Rishi Patel, Matt Salisbury, Tom Scriven, Liam Trevaskis, Sam Wood, Chris Wright

Pujara will come in for Carter or Alsop, while there are plenty of seam options should Robinson need resting.

Sussex squad (from): John Simpson (c/wk), Tom Alsop, Jack Carson, Oli Carter, Tom Clark, James Coles, Henry Crocombe, Tom Haines, Fynn Hudson-Prentice, Sean Hunt, Ari Karvelas, Danny Lamb, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ollie Robinson, Jayden Seales

Weather and Conditions

The forecast is for a dry first two days with showers coming in from late on Sunday into Monday. Temperatures should also be warming up.

While the preference might be to bowl first, batting conditions will probably be good throughout the match, facilitated by the Kookaburra ball.

Date: 12-15April 2024

Time: 11:00

Ground: Grace Road, Leicester


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