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ASK ROBBO: The Answers - Part One!


We recently invited Sussex supporters to pose a question to Professional Cricket Manager Mark Robinson ahead of the new campaign which will soon be upon us.

Thank you to all those who submitted a question. We caught up with Mark to reveal the answers - and there's so much reading that we'll put the second part on the website tomorrow...

I would just like to ask Mark, are we likely to see anymore of Will Beer in first XI cricket this year, particularly in the four-day concept? Nick McGreal

Will is currently working very hard and exploring ways to spin the ball more, and also on his general pace. Sometimes it is very hard to judge where Will is as we forget that he is still young, and trying to master the most difficult art of cricket. How much he plays in the four-day first team will, I suppose, depend on how quickly he starts to move his game forward. He is, though, very determined and has already to a certain extent proved himself in one-day cricket. It will be exciting to see how he progresses.

We have given Will a two year contract to allow him more time and patience to keep moving forward. Will is obviously ambitious to play and we acknowledge that, but we have to pick a team we feel is best equipped to win.

It is rumoured that Surrey CCC did not want Rory Hamilton-Brown because he was a bad influence on the Surrey younger players. If this is the case, what steps will you be making if you think this could happen at Sussex? Les Elliott

There will always be rumours when a player leaves one club to join another. What we hope we do is enough homework in order to allow us to be prepared for the good and bad that any player brings to the environment. I can’t see the likes of Yardy, Prior and Magoffin allowing any of our players to be a bad influence on younger ones and that is where you have to trust your culture and the people within your club to lead by example.

May seem like a simple question which others may ask, but how do you think we'll do this season? Do you reckon, realistically, that we can win the County Championship? Andrew S

In terms of the four day Championship, I generally believe we have a chance this year of upsetting one or two people. I think the players can take a lot of confidence in how they performed last year, and the fact where we got to the position where we should of actually come second not only surprised other people but the players themselves. We know the areas in which we need to improve, and we are going to need some luck with injuries and international call ups etc, but we will definitely be going into the season with a lot of optimism.

Do you anticipate signing a second overseas, other than Scotty, for the T20? If so, what gap in the squad do you hope to fill? David Rees

We are very close to announcing a second overseas T20 player. The ideal player we wanted was a bowling all-rounder. As always the international calendar makes it difficult to second guess where players will be, but we're hopeful this player will be with us for the duration of the T20 tournament.

Were you generally happy with the progress of the second team last year? As a group, do you feel they are ambitious and dedicated enough? From this group, who do you feel is closest to gaining a regular first team place? I recognise the last question may be too sensitive to answer.
David Rees

As always, some progressed better than others, but I feel it would be unfair to say that was down to a lack of ambition or dedication. Sometimes players can suffer from a basic lack of opportunity as well as skill, or sometimes it might be the mental side that they have been lacking in. It would also be unfair of me to say which of them was close to becoming a first team regular.

I would be interested to hear Robbo’s views on players being released to play in the IPL whether they be English County Players, England Players and/or Sussex Contracted Players. Eddy Sears

We try to treat players as individuals and make those decisions accordingly. Where possible we would like to grant permission to all players to play in international competitions as we feel it aids their development and maturity. The landscape of cricket is changing, and we have to be ready to adapt to the needs of the times. What we have to remember is one-day success is an important part of the club’s finances and the two big home one-day games we had last year was the difference between being in the red or in the black, so while we treasure four-day cricket we have to make sure we are still fighting hard in the one-day formats.

Specifically on the IPL this year, Luke was already contracted by Pune Warriors and Matty isn’t our choice, so the only difficult decision we had was regarding Monty. With the facts that we had, we felt there was more to lose than gain by denying him the chance to be picked up. Again, I would like to stress each year we will make each decision on merit.

I would also like to hear how he feels Sussex will progress in each of the three competitions this year. Eddy Sears

In terms of one-day the obvious aim is to go one step further than we went last year.

If Robbo could add one player to our squad for this season (no strings or qualifications) who would that be? Eddy Sears

A fit and committed Jacques Kallis would do very nicely!

Stay tuned to the website for the second part of Robbo's Q&A session - which will be posted here tomorrow...

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