Sussex coach Mark Robinson is looking forward to spending some quality time with his squad this week – before the whirlwind of the new county season kicks in.
Robinson is taking 15 players to Dubai where they will play in the Emirates Twenty20 tournament against Lancashire, Durham and an MCC XI before switching to the red ball for a two-day fixture against Durham.
He said: “Pre-season is not a coach’s time because there is so much happening but I love going to Dubai because I get space with the team. It’s an environment we know well and we think the mix of 20 overs and longer games is just right again.”
Several experienced members of the squad will be missing including Matt Prior, Monty Panesar and Ed Joyce, who are all playing for their countries, as well as Murray Goodwin, who returns in a fortnight, and IPL-bound Luke Wright.
Robinson added: “I’m excited as to how far this group of players could potentially go if they believe in themselves and if they work hard enough.
“They wouldn’t be here if they didn’t have the talent but it’s sometimes the little things which make the difference. It’s up to the coaches and supporters to give them belief while not bull-shitting them either. I’ll be interested to see how some of them go in Dubai.”
Sussex have signed former New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris for the Friends Life t20 but their search for another overseas player has so far drawn a blank. One target, South African seamer Vernon Philander, opted to join Somerset and two un-named others pulled out.
Robinson would love to have someone in place for the County Championship opener against Surrey on April 5, especially as Wright will be missing for the first five four-day games because of the IPL. “We’re still looking and hopefully something can be finalised pretty quickly,” he said.