I have attended the last two days of Sussex v Pakistan. Sussex Sharks lost their T20 game at Glamorgan last Thursday night and the team did not return till the early hours of Friday. So we fielded a scratch side against the tourists. I had not heard of any of the three bowlers and one Jefra Archer was not even contracted. I hope he will be as he took 4-49. Recommended by Chris Jordan he has the Bajan loose-limbed speed and length. However the Pakistani seasoned batting lineup filled their boots with the others and declared at 363-5 Yesterday I feared the worst but Luke Wells (93) and Harry Finch (103) put on a opening stand of 212. Sussex declared just before tea at 291-5. With bad weather predicted on the final day today a draw looks likeliest.
Pakistan bring back golden memories of two of the Sussex greats who would grace any of our sides: Imran Khan and Mushtaq Ahmed. Imran is sometimes neglected in that great quartet of all rounders comprising himself, Ian Botham, Kapil Dev and Richard Hadlee yet he had a higher batting average in both test and first class cricket than Ian Botham. No less a judgethan Richie Benaud had him in his all time world XI. He was also an astute captain both in test and limited over cricket. As for Mushtaq Ahmed, or Mushy the magician, who had the unbelievable haul of 478 wickets and more than anyone else – though Murray Goodwin ran him close – responsible for the three Sussex championships in the noughties. To win our final title in 2007 Mushy took 13 wickets whilst struggling through injury against Worcestershire on the final match. Another Pakistani legend Javed Miandad played only a few games for us and made his name and numerous runs at Glamorgan.
As for Pakistan they are still heavily reliant on stalwarts Misbah up Haq (42) , Mohammed Hafeez (35) Younis Khan (38). Azhar Ali has a test average of 43. The restored Mohammed Amir will bring youthful pace. I can see them contesting the test series better than Sri Lanka.
One sadness was the game was so poorly attended, no more than 1500. The tourists did not get proper examination against a decent bowling attack and Sussex rested Ed Joyce, Chris Nash and Luke Wright. One wonders why the fixture was played.