Sussex coach: We're making progress - but I know we need wins

The bare facts are that after eight Championship games we have won one, drawn two and lost five, writes Ian Salisbury, Sussex's head coach in the County Championship.

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 9:24 am
Sussex joint head coach Ian Salisbury, who is in charge of the red-ball squad / Picture: Getty

But if I look deeper at our plans and the journey we’re taking to get to where we want to be, then I think we’re ahead of the curve.

The youngsters that have been involved have all performed better than I could have hoped.

When you hold that up against our strategic aim of developing cricketers that ultimately end up being matchwinners for Sussex and for England, I think we’ve made good progress this summer.

The selection for England of Ollie Robinson, and now George Garton, is more evidence of that.

That said, I want to win every game we go into, and for the two games before the Championship reaches the divisional stage I’ll be picking teams I think have the best chance of winning.

So far, some of our more experienced players haven’t quite come to the party.

When you’re seeing youngsters going above and beyond it is frustrating when senior players aren’t performing as well as they would like.

We need them to step up and make the difference when it comes to making sure we turn the strong positions we’ve got ourselves into in games into wins.

For the six games we have left this season, players that have struggled earlier in the season are going to have to work hard to keep or regain their places.

There will be chances for young players who merit opportunities.

Ali Orr deserves a run in the side; James Coles will be available; Dan Ibrahim had a great debut and Archie Lenham might be pushing for a game after his great start in T20 cricket.

We want to win all six games, but just as importantly we want to keep giving these guys opportunities and adding to their experience as we build a side for the future.

We’ll also have Phil Salt back playing four-day cricket. We need to get him up and running in that format because there are places up for grabs in the Test team.

It’s my view that if he scores runs his name should be in the hat for one of those places. And ’ll need to get Ollie Robinson back up to speed ahead of the Test matches coming up this summer.

CJ is a different story.

He has an operation on his arm last year and hasn’t bowled more than four overs in a match since, so it would be a bit of a jump to ask him to play a four-day game.

We’ve got to look after him. Pushing him straight into Championship cricket could be a career-threatening risk and so he won’t be available immediately, at least. We need to build him back little-by-little.

I’m eight months into the job now and I think the thing that has really stuck out is how much extra stuff there is to do beyond working with the guys. Time management is crucial.

There’s a lot of planning ahead, but you also then have to be able to adapt in the moment. I think the dual role between James and me has worked really well.

It would be almost impossible to be head coach in all three formats and give each competition the attention it requires to do things properly.

Both James and I have found it so important having each other as assistants at various times during the summer.

Whether it’s carrying a bag from the bus or taking a mitt for the bowlers on match days, it hasallowed whoever is head coach to focus fully on the game.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the job so far.

I’ve loved being back down in Hove, being back at the club where I started my professional playing career – and it’s made a huge difference having fans back for the past couple of weeks.