Log In

Reset Password

Positive vibes spread through second XI

Tawanda Muyeye, the 2020 Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year, had us on the run during his 136 from 108 balls

As friendly games go, the one we were just involved in against Kent ahead of our Second XI Championship opener this week was as exciting as they come.

The rain throughout last week virtually killed off the three-day match at Hove, but both teams sportingly agreed to forfeit an innings each to make a game of it — and what a finish it was.

Losing a day and a half is not ideal, but credit to the groundstaff. It was probably still a little bit wet, but they did all they could and it was fit enough to play, obviously. It was a double declaration just to try and set up a game and create that excitement, and we went out to bat on what was a favourable wicket for batters.

On a personal note, it was nice to be able to get out there and get some time in the middle and get a few runs [44 from 33 balls with six fours and two sixes], and as a team get a total that sort of dangled the carrot a little bit and enticed them to chase.

Defending 390 in a maximum 62 overs, we started well with the ball, but they played pretty well and set themselves up to potentially win the game and really earned the right to win. It came down to the last ten overs, with them sort of needing six, seven an over. I know in today's cricket it’s not a big ask. You can have as many scouts out as you want in the outfield, with no fielding restrictions — but when a man is on, he’s on.

That man was Tawanda Muyeye, a 22-year-old Zimbabwean who was named Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year in 2020, joining an exclusive list that includes England’s Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow. We weren’t at our best in the field, and he probably could have been out a few overs before reaching 136 from 108 balls with 11 fours and eight sixes, but that’s how the game goes. He batted very well and earned the right to go big at the end, and try and win his team the game.

After Muyeye was to become one of leg spinner Archie Lenham’s four wickets, all three results were possible — even though the advantage rested with Kent, as 17-year-old Jaydn Denly had grown in confidence after a steady start. But once Archie got him stumped for 77 to make it 364 for seven with four overs left, the pendulum tilted in our favour. I even joined in on the act with a wicket, as we got them nine down in the final overs but couldn’t quite force the result.

It was exciting for us as players, and I’m pretty sure as well for the people who came in to watch — a nice game to be a part of. That atmosphere was validation of what we are trying to build at Sussex throughout the club since Paul Farbrace arrived as head coach.

Everyone gets on very well at the club, and so to have that camaraderie throughout the first and the second teams is good. We all know that it’s a process to being promoted to the first team, and everyone’s bought into what Farbs has brought to the club so far this year. We all have the same goal, so once everyone’s got the same goal, you’ve got mutual respect and understand what one another’s trying to do. Those of us who are playing in the twos, we don’t want to be here the whole season, but we also want the first team to keep winning.

It’s one of those situations where the only thing you can do is perform yourself individually to try and help your team win. You hope when you’re in the twos that you get the chance — all you can do is just keep sticking your hand up and putting in performances.

The vibe is really fresh — a bit of a fresh start having a new head coach, a new cricket director. A few people’s roles have changed and it feels good. I think you could see it in the way we played against Durham, the clarity and the freedom that the boys played with. You can’t really see it when you’re tuning in on the livestream, but after we won that game, to see the whole squad together settled on the outfield listening to music and enjoying the time together, some of the boys bringing their kids along, it’s just a good feeling and a very, very nice feeling around the club at this moment.

• Delray Rawlins was talking to Dexter Smith

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published April 20, 2023 at 7:36 am (Updated April 21, 2023 at 1:47 pm)

Positive vibes spread through second XI

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon