By Ryan Newman
Sussex Captain Luke Wright is hoping for a much better season both personally and for the team in 2017 after being dogged by injury problems last campaign.
The England international was speaking at Sussex’ media and press day at the 1st Central County Ground in Hove on Wednesday.
He said: “I never really got fit all season last year. I had the double back injury, then got back from that and had to have an operation on my wrist and never really recovered.
“I found myself at times last year playing when I probably shouldn’t have played due to the other injury problems we had so it is really nice to turn up this year feeling fully fit after a good winter.
“I feel as fit as I have felt for about six or seven years actually. All the issues in my back and my arm have all gone and I am ready to go.”
Wright was also full of praise for the club’s recruitment strategy over the winter. The side has brought in a wealth of experience including South African duo Vernon Philander and Stiaan Van Zyl alongside the addition of batsman Laurie Evans who signed a three year deal from Warwickshire.
“I think obviously we struggled with our batting especially due to injuries. We consistently had to play a lot of young lads but I think we have addressed that over this winter.
“More than anything I think having competition for places will be a big plus for us this year. Last year, with injuries it almost meant that the team had to pick itself which can cause its own problems if people aren’t performing.
“I think we have said for a while that our batting probably needed a little bit of strengthening and it has been great to add some of that in the winter.
“It isn’t easy to try and get players in at any club but I am really chuffed with the lads we have brought in.”
“But in terms of 50 overs that’s obviously where we feel we need to improve. It is a tournament that we can still get some young lads to play in but certainly those senior batters can help us. I think having the all-rounders brought in has helped massively as well.”
Sussex are clearly hoping that the blend of the experience being brought in combined with the talented youngsters making their way into the first team will prove to be a winning formula and Wright has been impressed with the desire to succeed shown by the younger players in the squad: “I think it is like anything you always have to keep improving your game and the thing I like about our young players is that they are so hungry to get better.
“To see the improvements even from last year is encouraging. I think for some of the younger lads they actually played ahead of schedule last year.
“As I said earlier, what we want is for players to have to fight for their place so that there is no guarantees for anyone to play.
“It is nice to see those young guys really trying to push the senior guys but also push each other as well to fight for those spaces.”
Sussex get their 2017 summer season started at home to Kent in the County Championship on 14th April.