Coach Mark Robinson has admitted that it could be a while before some of Sussex’s most experienced players are available for their County Championship campaign.
Last season’s second division winners made a dismal start on their return to the top flight with defeat by an innings and 55 runs against Lancashire at Liverpool.
They harboured hopes of survival going into the final day on 151-3 and their prospects improved when 24 overs were lost to rain. But in just 63 minutes after the resumption they lost seven wickets for 23 runs including six in 35 balls during an execrable collapse.
Sussex were without skipper Mike Yardy, Luke Wright, Matt Prior and Lewis Hatchett while New Zealander Lou Vincent is not going to get his UK passport until next month.
None of the England trio is expected to return for the game against Durham next week so Robinson again expects to be choosing from a squad of just 15 fit and available players.
He said: “We picked from 15 for this game so we are bit light. We will still be without Prior and Wright at Durham and it’s still too early to say about Yardy.
“He is coming into the ground this week at some point so we will see how he is. But we have to make sure he has enough space to recover so there is a good chance we will be picking from the same squad.”
Some of the Liverpool team are expected to get some time in the middle in a second XI fixture against Hampshire at Hove this week, although Robinson is wary of over-burdening in particular his younger players who had to field for 163 overs during Lancashire’s innings.
Chris Liddle and wicketkeeper Andy Hodd could both be in contention for a return against Durham. The Sussex seam attack was out-bowled by veteran Glen Chapple and having Rana Naved, who was batting at No.9 in the second division a year ago, as high as seven exposed a lengthy tail.
There is certainly plenty for the coach to mull over although he is right not to panic after one game. He said: “What we have to learn from Lancshire is that when windows open for us in a game, which they did at Liverpool, we have to take them.
“The personnel has changed from last season but we will get better as the season comes on. There is talent in the squad, we have to make sure that we keep our belief and we will go to Durham looking to win the game.”