Promising bowling starlet George Garton is hoping to break into the Sussex first team in the season ahead.
The 18-year-old left-arm seamer only recently signed a new contract extension to keep him at the 1st Central County Ground until 2018.
Garton made a dream start on his first-class debut last week, taking a wicket with his first ball in Sussex’s game against Leeds/Bradford MCCU.
He believes his contract extension reduces the pressure to perform, meaning he can concentrate on becoming a first-team regular.
He said: “Going from one to three years is quite a big step and it gives me quite a nice cushion. I’m not now focusing on getting another contract and thinking I have to perform out there and do as much as I can on the pitch to prove that I should get another one.
“It gives me three years to look at how my body works, how I can develop as a person, then after the three years hopefully get another contract and push on from there.”
“Obviously everybody wants to be playing first-team cricket. I want to play as much cricket as possible, stay as fit as I can and just do as well as I can and if that means playing second-team or first-team cricket then that’s what it means.”
Garton, who progressed through the Sussex youth, will again play his club cricket for Horsham and is looking forward to playing in the Sussex Premier League. He said: “I think club cricket is a great opportunity for younger players, either on the county system or not, to be sort of selfish with themselves and try to score as many runs as they can and get as many wickets and put themselves into the system that way.
“I think it is a good situation to experiment on – you can learn different things about your game. Learn what works, what does not and without the pressure of playing first-team cricket.”
“The premier league puts challenges on yourself as the wickets, it depends where you play, can be a bit dicey and that again can help your game as you are learning how to play on difficult wickets.”
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