22nd May: Sunrisers v Rajasthan Royals, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
Cricket World caught up with Sussex batsman and former Cricket World MVP Luke Wells to discuss all things Sussex, Luke's form and aims, his winter in Sri Lanka, the ICC World Twenty20, England versus South Africa and the Olympics.
Wells spoke confidently and enthusiastically about the form of Sussex this year and their potential to convert that form into trophies towards the end of the season.
Wells described Sussex as "one of the few clubs who have genuine contention in all three competitions" (The County Championship, CB40 and Friends Life t20) though he admitted that if he had to choose one competition to win it would be the County Championship:
"Personally I think the championship is the most difficult competition to win... it has the most days cricket and is the pinnacle of the game... it is more of a mammoth effort," he said.
It appears that history is acting like an inner force, driving the Sussex team to success this season. Wells described the team as "trying to continue a legacy of success" despite the absence of Sussex heroes like Mushtaq Ahmed and last year's failure to win a trophy for the first time in almost a decade at the back of their mind.
His own brilliant form this season, Wells attributed not to anything in particular, but to "simplicity":
"I try and keep things simple, try not to over think things. That is where I came unstuck last year. There is no secret, I stick to what I know works for me and my game plans; I have confidence in myself and my ability."
Part of his success is undoubtedly down to the winter he spent playing in Sri Lanka which provided him with a very different experience of batting. Wells described the conditions as, "so different, almost a different game all together, with challenging conditions that helped him to improve his game against spin and understand different ways of playing cricket."
And what of his England prospects? Although Wells is keen to express his lifelong ambition to represent England he is also mindful that this ambition and the media hype surrounding him cannot come to dominate his thought patterns.
"Of course all young players, if they don’t have the ambition to play for England, must question their motives and I have aspirations to push up ranks, though the way to do that is to become a consistent batsman, focus on each ball and stick to my game plans, not to think about England and contracts."
Staying with the theme of international cricket, Wells then gave his assessment of England’s performance against South Africa and provided us with some predictions for the upcoming ICC World T20.
He described the opening Test match as "Test cricket at its best", and a good learning experience for the England side who will now realise that they "have to be at absolute best to beat South Africa."
His assessment of England's chances for the ICC World T20 was equally positive: "I think they have a good chance, there are a lot of exciting players and young players coming through the ranks coupled with a lot of experience."
With the Olympics gripping Great Britain and the world, the final question put to Wells was whether he was excited about the prospect of cricket featuring in future Olympic Games. His response was mixed with excitement and reservation: "That would be fantastic, as long as the teams entered were the best teams possible; the Olympics should be the pinnacle of the sport."
Luke Wells (Sussex CCC) is exclusively represented by Total Sport Promotions Ltd – please visit www.totalsportpromotions.com or to follow Luke via Twitter @luke_wells07.
© Cricket World 2012
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