It is a year of new challenges for Sussex batsman Luke Wright. The 30-year-old, known for his boisterous and enthusiastic approach to the game, has replaced Ed Joyce as captain of the T20 Blast side and, as he settles into his new role, he is also coming to terms with his England future after missing out on selection to the 2015 World Cup.
“I’ve got to the stage now where if it happens then fantastic but it’s not something that keeps me up at night, I’m just enjoying playing my cricket,” Wright confesses.
“I’ve been really pleased with how I’ve played over the last few years and if I’m winning games of cricket with Sussex you’re always putting yourself in the shop window to be picked but it’s not the focus.”
His focus now is on a successful first season as captain of the Sussex Sharks in the T20 competition. Having won their first Twenty20 trophy in 2009 the Sharks have been disappointing in the previous two seasons; finishing bottom of the South Group in 2013 before a seventh place finish in 2014. And now it is up to Wright to recapture the team’s winning formula.
“It’s been so frustrating the last few years where we haven’t got to any quarter-finals and ultimately I want to change that,” he explains. “We’re very well supported down here and it’d be nice to give something back and get to a finals day and win a trophy for the fans.”
The previous disappointments have not gone unnoticed at the Hove-based club, with the result being a couple of major changes. While Wright has taken charge, the team has also signed the 2007 Cricketer of the Year, Mahela Jayawardene, to the T20 side.
However, Wright believes it is on the shoulders of the whole squad to ensure a different end to the season this summer. He says, “I think everyone just needs to play better. We’ve got some good players here and over the years everyone can hold their hand up and say they haven’t done quite enough.
“We’ve often come good late in the tournament but the run has been too late and we’ve just missed out by a point or two so hopefully I can help that by leading from the front.”
As a batter, Wright’s resume is impressive. After hitting a century on his debut for Sussex, the former England international has smashed 24 centuries in all forms of the game, including a world-record breaking 153 off 66 balls against Essex last July.
As well as four Denis Compton medals Wrighty, as he is known to teammates, also once held the record for the fastest hundred in Australian domestic cricket, after a 44-ball century in the inaugural Big Bash League.
His batting was once again on display in Sussex’s recent T20 match against Gloucestershire where he hit 111 not out off 56 deliveries, including seven fours and eight sixes.
His ability has led him all across the world, playing in a range of different leagues and formats and, with vast experience on his side, he is looking to bring a fresh set of ideas to the table in his new role.
“Playing in those big games or playing with top players you are always learning off different players and playing around the world I’ve been very lucky to play under many different captains,” he explains.
“So I will be trying to bring in some of the things that I think have worked in my experiences and try and put them into this Sussex team and I suppose we’ll soon see come the end of the season if it’s working or not.”
To find out Sussex CCC’s latest fixtures visit www.sussexcricket.co.uk
LUKE’S QUICK FIRE QUIZ
Favourite cricket ground?
Winning the World Cup T20 with England
Who’s the team’s biggest moaner?
Who do you fear playing most?
It was Brett Lee
Who do you fear playing least?
It would be Chris Nash if he was in a different side
What’s your idea of happiness?
East or West Sussex?
Playing or watching cricket?
What motivates you?
Trying to win trophies with mates