Ian Salisbury: How The Hundred opens doors for Sussex's young stars

A number of our players have departed for The Hundred, which simplifies selection for the Royal London Cup in many ways (writes Ian Salisbury, joint head coach at Sussex CCC, in his latest exclusive column for Sussex Newspapers).

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 8:12 am
Updated Thursday, 29th July 2021, 8:24 am
Joe Sarro - centre, being congratulated on a county championship wicket - is one of the young players who will get a chance in the One Day Cup side / Picture: Getty

A number of our players have departed for The Hundred, which simplifies selection for the Royal London Cup in many ways.

The tournament will be another opportunity for us to look at the hugely promising homegrown youngsters starting to make a name for themselves at Sussex

They’ll intermingle in the side with the senior guys available and it will be a great opportunity for them to learn from those experienced professionals.

I wish all our superstars involved in The Hundred the very best. I think it is a really exciting new tournament and one we should all get behind.

The Royal London Cup still has a really important role to play, though.

The England men are reigning 50-over world champions and the ECB has put a huge emphasis on white-ball cricket in recent times, so the domestic form of that game is hugely relevant.

We want to produce players for England and this competition is a chance to develop those players.

Look at young Archie Lenham. He’s getting an opportunity to play 50-over cricket and who’s to say that’s not the start of his journey to becoming the mystery spinner that replaces Adil Rashid in England’s ODI side in a few years’ time.

From Sussex’s point of view, we are working towards having a side that competes in all three formats in three or four years and this year’s Royal London Cup is another step on that journey.

While other teams will also be missing players to The Hundred or England, their remaining squad will be made up of guys with significantly more experience than us.

It’s important to bear that in mind when looking at this year’s edition.

That doesn’t mean we won’t be trying to win as many games as we can.

There’s no better way to learn than by winning. That’s where the experienced guys we have playing will have such an important role.

We’ll have Travis Head for example, and it looks like we will see a bit of David Wiese, Ollie Robinson and Jofra Archer at various points.

Jofra is a World Cup winner and to have him at mid-on giving advice to guys like Joe Sarro or Henry Crocombe or standing at slip when the spinners are bowling can only benefit these young guys.

Jofra is so happy to be playing cricket again after a spell on the sidelines, although I’m not sure the Oxfordshire opener, Tom Cosford, who got pinged on the helmet a couple of times in our friendly last week was so pleased to see him back!

It just goes to show, whatever form of the game he’s playing, you can’t take the fast bowler out of Jof!

Thankfully Tom was okay and he was quite pleased afterwards to see that he’d been doing the rounds on social media.

He might have to buy a new helmet, but he’ll have a good story to tell.

Talking of being pinged, Covid remains a big issue in cricket.

The country is opening up and the shackles are off for a lot of people, but as players and coaches we just can’t afford to do that.

The consequences of having people isolating because they haven’t been avoiding close contact are significant.

We lost a big chunk of our squad earlier this month and we’ve seen other counties forced to cancel games.

We have to carry on being ultra-cautious and following the restrictions we’ve been given by the club.

It is tough on the guys and the coaching staff, but there are huge financial implications if we can’t fulfil a fixture and so we’ve got to keep going just a little bit longer.