Sussex coach Mark Robinson hopes the experience gained by three of his players in New Zealand’s domestic Twenty20 competition can have a knock-on effect for the Sharks in 2011.
Skipper Mike Yardy, Luke Wright – both members of England’s World Cup winning team – and Chris Nash will all be competing in the HRV Cup down under in December.
Yardy has signed up to play for Central Districts, Nash will be joining Otago Volts, who had Sussex fast bowler Yasir Arafat in their side last season, whilst Wright, who got married in New Zealand last month, will be playing for the Wellington Firebirds alongside Aussie speedster Brett Lee among others.
Wright and Nash will be in opposition in only the third game of the tournament when the Firebrands host the Volts and five days later it’s Yardy versus Wright when Wellington meet the Stags.
The Volts also boast Brendon McCullum, who had a brief spell with Sussex in this season’s domestic tournament when their defence of the title ended with a quarter-final defeat to Nottinghamshire.
Robinson said: “I think it is a tremendous feather in our cap to have three of our players being picked as overseas choices in what is a very competitive competition in New Zealand. How many counties can say that?
“All three are vastly experienced but playing in New Zealand is something none of them have much experience of, especially in t20. They will come up against different opponents and it will help make them better players.
“We were all disappointed to lose in the quarter-finals last season and, like every other county no doubt, we are targeting t20 again in 2011. Winning two years ago was a fantastic experience for everyone involved and the more of our players who get exposure in this format at the highest level can only improve our chances.”
Nash, fresh from his first taste of international cricket in the Hong Kong Sixes, said: “It’s something I’ve been interested in doing for about a year now. I spoke to Brendon McCullum when he was here and told him I was keen to get over to New Zealand.
“Otago are very similar to us, they’re a family club, and one of the smaller clubs in the competition. I can’t wait to play against Wrighty and Yards – that is going to be brilliant. No doubt the banter will be flying but I hope to come out on top.”
Wright is already in New Zealand and the other two fly out next week with the competition starting on December 2.