For the first time this season Sussex have two different captains. While Ed Joyce will continue to lead the team in the County Championship, Luke Wright has been handed responsibility for the T20 team.
It’s a move that makes sense given Wright’s vast experience of playing T20 all over the world and with several players playing in both formats it’s not likely to unsettle the team too much.
The county have had just three captains since 1998. Chris Adams, the most successful in their history, did it for a staggering 11 years and across all the formats as well. Mike Yardy, his successor, was in charge for four years and since 2013 Joyce was been at the helm.
How Sussex would have loved that continuity 50 years ago. The county went into the 1965 season seemingly in good shape. They had won the first Gillette Cup one-day competition in 1963 and retained the trophy the following year.
Instead, the county won just four of their 28 Championship games and finished next to bottom and were knocked out of the Gillette Cup in the third round by Middlesex at Lord’s.
The reasons for their decline are not hard to work out. That season they had no fewer than FIVE captains.
Ted Dexter started in charge but the day after Sussex lost their grip on the Gillette Cup, Dexter was pushing his Jaguar off the Chiswick flyover after breaking down and the car rolled back and broke his leg. He was out for the season.
The job was then shared around by opening batsman Alan Oakman, Jim Parks, who led the team when he wasn’t playing for England, the Nawab of Pataudi, who would succeed Dexter in 1966, and Ian Thomson, who led the team once against Cambridge University in his final season before retiring to take a job in the family’s garage business.
No wonder Sussex had such an abysmal summer. “We didn’t know whether we were coming or going,” remembers Parks. “Losing Ted was a blow and I don’t think the committee at the time knew what to do so it ended up being an audition for who was going to do the job the following year because we knew Ted would be stepping down at the end of the season.
“The Nawab did a good job at the end of the season and proved to be a good skipper in 1966. We had a lot of fun playing under him.”