(Photo: Getty Images)
By Bruce Talbot
Ben Brown is convinced he can handle the extra workload after becoming Sussex’s new captain. The 28-year-old will take charge for the remainder of the Championship season after stepping up from his role at No.2 to Luke Wright, who resigned earlier this month.
Brown already keeps wicket and is expected to score runs at No.6. Last season he averaged 50.23 in four-day cricket. Nothing has changed in that regard – and he is confident that captaincy will improve other facets of his game rather than detract from them.
He said: “It’s going to be difficult and I expect to learn as I go a little bit but last season I got big runs when I was captain and I thought I kept wicket to a good standard as well. I think I can cope.
“For me the captaincy part during the game is switched off when the bowler is at the top of his mark ready to run in, whether I’m facing him or keeping wicket. That’s my trigger to concentrate.
“But I have worked on a few things on my keeping during the winter and feel that part of my game is in good order.”
So, it appears, is his batting. He celebrated his return to action on Monday after six weeks out with a broken finger by scoring 52 off 62 balls on the first day of the game against Gloucestershire at Hove.
He has been with Sussex since the age of 11 and made his debut in 2007 during the most successful era in the county’s history when Chris Adams guided them to seven trophies between 2003-09.
It’s a very different club these days but Brown believes Sussex are going forwards again.
“The squad has definitely moved forward in the last 12 months,” he said. “There is a good group of young bowlers like Jofra Archer, Stu Whittingham and George Garton coming through but we’ve also got a good core of solid pros.
“Our two South Africans – David Wiese and Stiaan van Zyl – are not only talented but add to the dressing room mix. I know as captain I’ll have tough decisions to make at times on selection and things like that but I’ve got to take it as I find it. Obviously, I learned from the bits I did last year but in terms of the dressing room it will largely run itself.
“It’s funny I played a lot of age group cricket with Will Beer and he did most of the captaincy back then so this will be a very different challenge.”
Ross Taylor will take over as captain for the NatWest T20 Blast and is due to arrive in Sussex on Tuesday ahead of their first South Group game against Glamorgan at Arundel Castle on Sunday July 9.
Brown lost his place in the T20 side last year and is determined to get it back. “That’s a big challenge for me,” he said. “We’ve got a good T20 team this year and I want to be part of it.”
Result: Sussex (358-9d & 142-1d) drew with Gloucestershire (150-1d & 212-6)