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Next task for Rawlins? Make Sussex first XI

Rawlins’ county bowling coach is also an assistant coach with England Under-19 (Photograph courtesy of Sussex CCC)

Delray Rawlins has not done his chances of breaking into the Sussex first XI this summer any harm ... the assistant coach of the Young Lions is also the bowling coach of Sussex!

Rawlins has been one of the shining lights in the England Under-19 team during their tour of India, scoring a century on his debut and following that up with knocks of 46 and 96, which he describes as his best knock of the tour. His performances have not gone unnoticed by his county in England, who are represented on the tour by Jon Lewis, the former England medium pacer who is the bowling coach for the youngsters.

Lewis was appointed assistant head coach to Mark Davis at Sussex ahead to the 2016 season. Lewis, who joined Sussex in 2014 and played the final year of his career at the County Ground, took up the role of bowling coach for the 2015 season.

“Yeah, I’m lucky enough to have the assistant coach out here as the bowling coach for us, so he’s seeing my performances first hand,” Rawlins said. “ So I don’t think I’ve done myself any harm in pushing to try and get in the first team this summer.”

Rawlins, 19, has justified his inclusion for the Young Lions with some impressive performances with both the bat and ball during the five one-day matches. They are also set to play two Youth Tests starting on February 13 and 21.

“I felt really good with the bat in training leading up to the games, so I just tried to take my basics into the game,” Rawlins explained. “It doesn’t really get any better than getting a century on debut, along with a couple of wickets.

“But most importantly was getting the win. For some reason I just had a really good feeling that I would do well on debut. I’m just pleased that it went that well.

“I was really pleased to get the 96, one because I was moved up the order and was really happy to carry on doing well. Also the situation of the game just called for me to keep batting through. Even though I didn’t get a hundred, I felt that was the best inning out of the series for me.”

Touring India has been a learning experience for Rawlins who has been impressed with the quality of the opposition. India came from 1-0 down in the series to win 3-1 after the final match finished in a thrilling tie.

“Competition has been tough, wickets have been pretty flat,” Rawlins said. “However the Indian bowlers were quite good in executing their skills, and it just shows they know their conditions really well.”

Lewis is relishing his role in a new look to the Sussex coaching set-up.

“I welcome the opportunity of the role as assistant head coach at Sussex,” he said on the Sussex website. “This will enable me to utilise all my experience of a 20-year playing career worldwide, as well as the coaching experience gained alongside this.

“I will be using my key strengths on a daily basis to help shape a winning side for Sussex, whilst continuing to develop the current bowling group, and future Sussex bowlers. I look forward to working closely with head coach Mark Davis and captain Luke Wright.”

Davis said: “It is brilliant to have Jon as my assistant coach. He has made massive strides as a coach over the last 18 months and is an integral part of how we operate Sussex Cricket.

“Jon has been an immense support to me in my new role and has been not only been outstanding with the bowlers, but has helped lead the group brilliantly. He has a strong work ethic and an astute cricket brain, and is now part of a very strong coaching team at Sussex.”