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Last Updated: Friday, 3 August 2007, 08:32 GMT 09:32 UK
Wright answers for Sussex
By Jamie Lillywhite

Luke Wright
Wright has been a pivotal part of Sussex's Twenty20 success

One of the key ingredients of Sussex's recent success has been their ability to identify and harness talent.

No-one has illustrated this more than Luke Wright, who has gone from the wilderness of the Leicestershire second XI to a call-up into the provisional 30-man England Twenty20 squad.

The 22-year-old is the younger brother of Ashley Wright, who played for the Foxes from 2001-2.

"He was a batter so I always had to bowl at him in the garden," Wright Jr recalls of his formative cricketing years.

"The only time he would give me a bat is if he wanted to try and hurt me! All the older lads would try and hit me on the head.

"But even then I hated not being involved in the game so I always wanted to be an all-rounder."

Having emulated his brother and by making it into the first team at Grace Road, Wright's career stalled at Leicestershire and he only began to revive it when he was offered a chance by Peter Moores and the coaching staff at Sussex in 2004.

"I was doing well in the second team but not getting any chances, and it got to the stage where I needed to play first team and improve," he said.

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Ironically one of the few appearances he made in the Leicestershire first-team came against Sussex when the south-coast club secured their first Championship title.

"It couldn't have been two more different sides of the coin really, I was playing for Leicester who had just been relegated in both divisions and we were playing the champions and to see the club and how they worked was really impressive.

"I didn't know at the time there was a chance of me coming down, but luckily they saw something.

"It was an honour when they were interested and it was a pretty easy move to make."

With Sussex he has won the Championship and 50-over C&G Trophy, but this season it has been the Twenty20 Cup that has propelled him into the limelight.

Luke Wright
Twenty20 is ideally suited to Wright's all-action style of play

Recalling his first impressions of the format he said: "I couldn't have been more excited about it, I love to go for everything at 100mph and when it came to a game where you have to hit the ball as hard as you can, dive around in the field and do what you can with the ball I was really excited.

"Initially, the younger lads were more excited than the senior players but as it's gone on everyone has realised what a good competition it is and now every team really strives to win it - it's the big one now, along with the Championship.

"When it first came out everyone was unsure what crowds we'd get but they're getting bigger and bigger, some grounds are pulling in 18 to 20,000.

"The quarter-final we had against Yorkshire was unbelievable, to see the amount of people - and children - watching the game can only be good for bringing young cricketers through."

Having failed to reach finals day in the first four years of the competition, Sussex powered into Saturday's showpiece event at Edgbaston with some impressive victories, notably a 38-run win over a strong Yorkshire side at a packed Hove.

"You set out to win every trophy but we definitely looked to try and address what had happened before.

"I think the best thing that happened was we took a bad defeat against Essex in the first game and we learned a lot of things from them and the way they went about it.

"We realised a lot of it was about going out with no fear, backing yourself and expressing yourself, rather than getting too worried about getting out."

Wright has been elevated to the key number three role this year, and has responded superbly with a century against Kent plus 98 against Hampshire which included six sixes and a string of thrilling cameos, hitting more sixes than any other player in domestic one-day cricket during July.

"It's nice to repay them. It's brilliant getting in for the first six overs with the field up, it gives you a chance to hit some boundaries and put pressure on the bowlers."

One of Sussex's opponents in the second semi-final at Edgbaston on Saturday will be Yasir Arafat, who helped them to Cup glory at Lord's last season, before joining Kent.

"He's one of the dangermen, with bat, ball and in the field.

"He did really well for us and he's doing well for Kent, he's a lovely lad and it's a shame we have to play against him because he's a really good player."

There is a chance the two could be in opposition on the international stage at the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa this year, with England's squad due to be whittled down to 15 after the finals day.

"There are some awesome players there and it was a privilege to be in that 30 but I've tried to put it at the back of my mind," says Wright, who is keen to evolve in all forms of the game.

"I'd hate to pigeon-hole myself but if it meant I was going to the World Cup right now then I'd take just being a Twenty20 player!"



SEE ALSO
Prior & Malinga set for Cup clash
03 Aug 07 |  Counties
Sussex reach first Twenty20 semi
18 Jul 07 |  Counties
England name 30 for ICC Twenty20
11 Jul 07 |  England
Superb Wright batters Hampshire
06 Jul 07 |  Counties
Wright century sets up Sussex win
26 Jun 07 |  Counties
Wright flourish sees Sussex home
27 Jun 06 |  Counties
Sussex make double signing
14 Jan 04 |  Cricket


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