Sussex Face Trip to Derbyshire Following Disastrous opening encounter


The weather is improving, and the cricket season is underway, but both Derbyshire and Sussex will be looking for a change of fortunes as they look to earn the first wins of their County Championship campaigns. 

At last, cricket fans can rejoice at the return of the domestic cricket season, with thousands flocking to see the return of their beloved county sides for the curtain raisers in the 2022 LV County Championship. 

This included fans at the 1st Central County Ground in Hove as Sussex welcomed the pre-season favourites for Division Two, Nottinghamshire. Unfortunately for the hosts, those in attendance saw Nottinghamshire take control over days two and three, ultimately putting Sussex to the sword and beating them by ten wickets on the final day in the only Division Two game that did not finish a draw. 

It was a disappointing start to a Sussex career for Hampshire loanee Tom Alsop, who scored just seven runs combined in his first two innings for the club. 

However, new signing Steven Finn earned a solid three wickets for 84 runs after he joined from Middlesex ahead of the 2022 season. 

Meanwhile, Derbyshire also faced one of the division’s favourites in their opening test, as they went to Lord’s to visit Middlesex. After the Londoners dominated day one, Derbyshire had an impressive day two before a late collapse. A gritty third and fourth day earned the East Midlands County a draw, a result they would have perhaps taken prior to the first ball. 

Making his first appearance in County Cricket, Pakistani batsman Shan Masood scored 153 with bat in hand, including a 91 run 1st inning stint. 

This was also the start of a new era for Derbyshire, with former South Africa and Australia head coach Mickey Arthur leaving his role as head coach of Sri Lanka to take over in the East Midlands. 

The experienced 53-year-old also brings Ian Bell into the setup as an assistant coach as he looks to steer the side that finished second bottom in Group Three of the 2021 Championship towards a potential promotion push. 

Cricket will return to the Incora County Ground on Thursday as Arthur takes charge of his first home game of the 2022 season. 

The prospective weather sees three days of sunshine mixed in with a few clouds, with rain expected for Sunday. As such, the toss will be hugely important.

Team News – Derbyshire: 

Derbyshire make one change from the squad that drew with Middlesex, with Alex Hughes replacing Warwickshire loanee Ryan Sidebottom in the attack. Academy graduate Nick Potts keeps his place in the squad and will look to make his first-class debut for Derbyshire in front of the home fans. 

1. Billy Godleman

94. Shan Masood

10. Luis Reece

4. Harry Came

76. Leus du Plooy

77. Wayne Madsen

29. Brooke Guest

15. Alex Thomson

65. Anuj Dal

18. Alex Hughes

82. Suranga Lakmal

59. Sam Conners

26. Nick Potts

Team News – Sussex: 

Sussex will welcome two new signings into the fray for the upcoming encounter in the form of Cheteshwar Pujara and Mohammad Rizwan. The former is a 34-year-old right-handed batsman who has over 6,000 test runs for India, whilst the latter is a wicketkeeper-batsman who has massively impressed in all formats of international cricket for Pakistan and is arguably the world’s best gloveman.

Incidentally, Pujara had a brief spell with Derbyshire in 2014, and will return to the UK for the domestic season for the first time since 2018. Meanwhile, this will be Rizwan’s first domestic season in the English game. 

45. Tom Alsop 

32. James Atkins 

31. Georg Burrows 

11. Oli Carter 

27. Tom Clark 

30. James Coles 

5. Henry Crocombe 

44. Steven Finn 

20. Tom Haines 

41. Archie Lenham 

6. Ali Orr 

8. Cheteshwar Pujara 

116. Mohammad Rizwan 

All in all, this game pits two sides in transition against each other, and achieving promotion this year with strong Nottinghamshire and Middlesex sides in the competition will be tough. However, a win for either side would go a long way towards getting the proverbial ‘ball rolling’ in their season. With the conditions on Sunday, whoever wins the toss will be confident that they can win and win well as long as they can put in a solid batting performance. 

Tom Alsop will be determined to improve greatly on his disappointing Sussex debut, and with scorers like Cheteshwar Pujara in the side, he will hope to be part of a devastating partnership. Meanwhile, Shan Masood will likely receive a warm reception from the home crowd as be looking to build on an outstanding county cricket debut in the season opener. 

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