Sussex go into a weekend double in the Royal London One-Day Cup with a new fast bowling hope in Aristides Karvelas.
He was the hero of the eight-wicket destruction of Leicestershire on Sunday (7 August) and he’s looking forward to matches against Warwickshire on Friday (12 August) and Surrey at Hove on Sunday.
Ari, as he likes to be known, had figures of four for 21 in eight overs as Leicestershire were dismissed for just 120 in 32.4 overs at Hove to make it two wins out of three for Sussex.
The 28-year-old is a South African-born Greece international who has been given a month’s trial by Sussex.
The county – for different reasons – have been without Jofra Archer, Ollie Robinson, Steve Finn, Tymal Mills and George Garton during their RLC campaign.
It was one-day cricket that gave Sussex their first trophies when they won the first two Gillette Cups in 1963 and 1964.
And it is one-day cricket that represents their only chance of winning something this season after disappointments in their County Championship and Blast campaigns.
Ari made his Sussex debut in a Championship match against Middlesex at Lord’s last month. And although he took only two wickets in Middlesex’s only innings, he top-scored with a two-hour 57 to salvage a draw when Sussex batted second time round.
He smiled and said: “I’m not really that new. I’ve been trialling at Sussex for about a year now. I played at the end of last year for the second team and did some training in the winter – and now I’ve had the privilege of playing some first-team cricket.
“Sussex have gone out on a limb for me and I want to repay that. I’m grateful to be in this environment with the support staff they have here.
“It’s taken a lot of perseverance and travelling and sacrifice on my part but now I’ve been rewarded with this chance by Sussex and I aim to make the most of it.
“I can’t believe the things I’ve learned in just a couple of weeks from the likes of Ollie Robinson and Puj (Cheteshwar Pujara).
“I’ve played a dozen or so first-class matches for Gauteng – and having that under my belt has helped me with my Sussex performances.”
So far, in first-class cricket he has played 17 games and taken 48 wickets at 25.35.
Karvelas qualified to play for Greece because of his father’s family background. He said: “I was going to play more matches but then Sussex made me that offer to play at Lord’s.”
The paceman is doing a degree course in business management and industrial psychology and said: “I’m with the University of South Africa, which is a sort of open university, but right now I’m living in the moment with cricket on my mind.”
And if Karvelas sounds a little like a Normandy brandy – well, that’s probably what the Leicestershire batsmen felt like downing after the bowler cut them down at Hove on Sunday.
He said: “The ball was nipping about and there was some assistance, which always helps. But that can’t take away from our bowling unit. We were relentless in hitting our areas. We put our foot on their throat once we got on top.”
Now Sussex feel they have a good chance of beating a Surrey side depleted by a number of call-ups for the Hundred.
If they do, they could go on to qualify for the latter stages of the Royal London Cup after Friday’s assignment at Edgbaston.