Delray Rawlins has backed Sussex Sharks to continue their recent form in the Vitality Blast when this summer's competition gets underway.
Sussex topped the South Group last summer – a year after reaching the final – with a mix of entertaining and consistent white-ball cricket that has become the club’s hallmark in recent seasons.
The club open this year’s Blast on Thursday, May 28th when they host Kent at The 1st Century County Ground. Before the first 'El Clasicoast’ of the season takes place 24 hours later at Hampshire.
Getting off to a fast start will therefore be vital, and Rawlins is confident the defined roles that were established last summer will ensure they hit the ground running.
“Last year definitely we started well and we got on a roll and the players were playing their role to the best of their ability just how the captain and coach asked them,” he said.
“Everything seemed pretty clear for us and we were winning games quite comfortably. We were chasing big scores and bowlers were closing out games if we were bowling second.
“Everyone was quite clear on how we wanted to go about winning games and once we got on a roll everyone’s confidence was sky high.”
The success was seen off the pitch too with six of the seven home games sold out and already the club’s Blast passes have sold out for this season.
Tickets for all of the Vitality Blast group stage matches went on sale on March 2nd and, with Sussex playing six of their seven home games on a Thursday or Friday night, Blast nights at Hove are set to be one of the hottest tickets in town.
“We definitely feel it from the fans,” Rawlins added.
“We can feel the atmosphere and the fact that they’re enjoying us playing our cricket. That spills over to the way we play – we really enjoy being out there which I think is important for the results we have had.
“One thing that Wrighty always asks is to play your role but to have fun while you’re doing it.
“That has been the difference in the last couple of years – we’ve definitely had fun while playing our cricket.
“Everyone is positive and takes the positive options. To see your mates doing well is what it’s about and it makes it easier to play well and enjoy success.”
It is a feel good factor that England quick Jofra Archer particularly enjoys when he gets the chance to pull on the Sussex jersey.
The World Cup winner played two games for the Sharks last term and said: “It feels like you never left when you come back and the guys don’t react any different to me coming back.
“It is pretty much just as I left it and for me that is quite a relaxing and calming thing.”