Sussex seek star signing for 2011

Coach Mark Robinson says Sussex are in the market for one more “very good player” as they prepare for their return to the top flight in the County Championship.

The second division winners have already recruited seam bowler Amjad Khan from Kent. But they have lost six players from last season’s squad including Middlesex-bound Corey Collymore, released trio Michael Thornely, Ragheb Aga, Chad Keegan and James Kirtley and Robin Martin-Jenkins, who have both retired.

That exodus does not mean that Sussex suddenly have more financial muscle when it comes to recruitment, insists Robinson.

He said: “The climate is hard for every sports club, never mind the 18 counties, but a myth seems to have developed that because we have lost a few players there is a big pot of money there.

“We can afford one very good player and if he doesn’t come perhaps two who are less of a household name.”

Robinson is working on several new targets having failed to lure Ryan Sidebottom to Hove and whoever arrives will have a knock-on effect in terms of next year’s overseas player.

Yasir Arafat performed modestly after replacing Rana Naved in May until the last month of the season when he took 24 of his 36 first-class wickets.

Robinson added: “If we’d got Sidebottom – and we were in there right until the end – I’m not sure we would have needed Yasir. So it depends on the type of domestic signing we make as to who we go for.

“I have one pot of money to spend. Does it go on a top overseas or a slightly lesser overseas which would allow us to get a second overseas t20 player?”

Robinson admits that winter recruitment is likely to be a long drawn-out process for several reasons. Until counties know the make-up of the 2011 fixture list, and in particular whether the number of Friends Provident t20 home games is reduced, financial prudence seems to be the watchword.

Sussex also have to gauge how much domestic cricket their four England internationals – Matt Prior, Luke Wright, Monty Panesar and Mike Yardy – are going to play in 2011 and whether Wright or Yardy could be drafted into the 2011 Indian Premier League.

“All you can do is second-guess a little bit but whatever happens we will have a strong squad next year and one we believe can take on the world,” said Robinson.

Included among it will be wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Brown who has signed a new two-year contract. A new one-year deal for Murray Goodwin should also be agreed soon, according to Robinson.

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