Rana Naved admits he is feeling the love again at Hove this season.
The Pakistan all-rounder is back at the county for a fourth spell as overseas player until June, when he will be replaced by South Africa’s Wayne Parnell.
During the winter the 33-year-old fast bowler played for National Bank in domestic cricket before a stint with Tasmania in Australia’s Big Bash T20.
But Hove is clearly where the heart is for this whole-hearted campaigner who has taken more than 160 first-class wickets at a shade under 23 runs apiece for Sussex and been part of two County Championship-winning teams.
“I consider Sussex to be my second home because of all the love I get here,” said Rana, who caused much mirth among his team-mates and in the Hove deckchairs when he returned a year ago with a luxuriant head of hair having been bald during his two years with Yorkshire.
The hair is even longer this summer but Rana doesn’t mind the gentle ribbing he gets for his barnet.
“The atmosphere among the boys at Sussex is so good and the crowd are always fair to me,” he added. “It is very much like home. It is a good club and I am looking forward to doing well until June for Sussex. If I stand up physically to county cricket who knows? I might stay longer.”
Rana’s international career may be behind him. He hasn’t played for his country for two years but he still sees a way back into the Pakistan team in one-day cricket. He has taken 110 wickets in 74 ODIs, a record which might have earned him a longer international career were it not for the volatility of the selection process back home.
“When I played domestic cricket I performed very well,” he added. “I went on to play in Australia during the winter and now England. If I continue to perform and stay fit I think I will make an international comeback.”