Missed opportunities. It’s been the theme of quite a few of Jason Gillespie’s post-match debriefs in recent weeks.
But the Sussex head coach is confident that his side will learn their lessons from a disappointing Royal London One-Day Cup campaign as they prepare to switch to other formats over the next few weeks.
Sussex won just twice in the 50 overs competition and missed out on a place in the quarter-finals that Gillespie felt was theirs for the taking.
Then last week against Australia, in another 50 overs contest, there was a worrying familiarity to Sussex’s performance, particularly with the bat. Several players got starts but no one made more than Phil Salt’s 62.
“I’m beginning to sound like a broken record but last week was another opportunity missed,” reflected Gillespie. “Batsmen are getting starts but no one is going on. It’s just not good enough. We need to learn that from and be better.
“The lads know. We’ve spoken about it time and again. We have to adapt and improve – it’s the same with the ball. I don’t want to keep saying the same things over and over again.”
It will have been 13 days since the Australia game before Sussex return to action next Wednesday (20 June) when they take on Durham in the Specsavers County Championship at Arundel.
Three players – Ollie Robinson, Harry Finch and Delray Rawlins – will play for an ECB XI against India A in a one-day game at Headingley on Sunday (17 June) but most of the squad have had an extended break.
“That’s not a bad thing,” admitted Gillespie. “I think they need to freshen up physically and mentally. I might even go for a walk down Brighton Pier myself or go for a few runs.”
While he’s pounding along the seafront, Gillespie will be weighing up changes to the side to face Durham – a game Sussex need to win to keep in touch with the promotion chasers in Division Two after the latest round of matches left them 19 points behind second-placed Kent.
The return of Chris Jordan and Jofra Archer for their first Championship game of the season is a boost but it’s the batting which will give Gillespie more to think about.
Stiaan van Zyl is out for an extended period of time because of a knee problem which could open up an opportunity for Michael Burgess, who has scored 308 runs at 44 so far, to move up from No 7.
Gillespie is confident the penny will drop. “Batsmen are getting starts, doing the hard work and not pushing on but they have to keep making good decisions in those situations,” he added. “It may take a little bit of time. They are working hard and striving to be better, I can’t fault their attitude.
“Am I frustrated? I just want to see the lads do better. I felt we were good enough to make the quarter-finals in the Royal London – we didn’t put together the complete game enough times – that’s what we have to do, whatever the competition.”
Follow Bruce Talbot on Twitter @brucetalbot1.