Luke Wright believes leading Sussex Sharks is bringing the best out of him as a batsman.
The 30-year-old, who was appointed captain of Sussex’s one-day teams at the start of the season, has scored 371 runs in the NatWest T20 Blast including a spectacular unbeaten 111 in last Friday’s breathless win over Gloucestershire.
Only two players – Kent’s Sam Northeast and Michael Klinger of Gloucestershire – have scored more and Wright will be looking to lead from the front once again on Thursday when Sussex take on Middlesex at Lord’s looking for their fourth successive win in the South Group.
It certainly means more to Wright if his contribution turns out to be a winning one as his effort at Bristol was.
He said: “The best way for me to lead as captain is to score runs and it was nice to get the boys over the line last week and put us in a good position in the group.
“We were dead and buried after 10 overs against a side who were very close to us in the table so to get that victory was massive for us. That’s three wins in a row now and hopefully that will give us a lift for Thursday night at Lord’s.”
Wright’s blitz at Bristol – he hit seven fours and eight sixes from 56 balls including 34 runs off the penultimate over – evoked memories of his unbeaten 153 at Chelmsford last year. That score was also made in a winning cause but Wright’s new sense of responsibility means last week’s century meant more.
“It was a better innings because there was nothing on that Essex game,” he added. “Personally it was an amazing knock but it was nothing but a consolation victory for the side so to win as we did on Friday with me scoring a hundred meant a whole lot more. I was so pumped up at the end but that’s why we play the game – for moments like that when you win and you’ve played a big part.”
Sussex coach Mark Robinson echoes his captain’s sentiments. “I have been lucky in my time to work with captains who are inspired by the responsibility of leadership, such as Chris Adams, Mike Yardy and Ed Joyce. That was a special innings by a special player,” said Robinson.
“We’ve won our last three which has really lifted the morale of the squad but we have got two big games coming up against Middlesex and Kent (at Hove on Friday) and we need to keep building momentum.”
Sussex have no fresh injury worries for the trip to Lord’s and are likely to be unchanged.
Sussex (probable): Nash, Wright, Cachopa, Machan, Bailey, Brown, Beer, Robinson, Yardy, Mills, Liddle.
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