Sussex going on a summer holiday
With Cliff Richard and the Australian cricket team visiting the newly named "BrightonAndHoveJobs.com County Ground" this summer, and with top-level Championship cricket appearing at Horsham and Arundel again this year, 2013 promises to be an exciting one for Sussex fans. Perhaps, like Cliff, they might even imagine themselves going on a summer holiday.
Sussex have also been innovative in selecting a testimonial for the 2013 season. Instead of choosing a player, the club has instead selected two local cricket charities. With events planned throughout the season, the Sussex Cricket in the Community Trust and Sussex Cricket, Museum and Educational Trust are worthwhile causes that should benefit hugely.
Crucially, there have been changes to the playing staff. Murray Goodwin has moved to Division Two side Glamorgan, ending his stay at Hove that spanned over a decade. Goodwin was instrumental in Sussex's first Championship title in 2003 - the first in our 164-year history - and his 335 not out against Leicestershire that season will ensure Fuzz goes down as one of our all-time greats.
29-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Andrew Hodd has moved to Yorkshire, whilst Naveed Arif Gondal and Will Adkin have both been released by the club. Kirk Wernars has also left, returning to his native South Africa having taken a year out of the game.
Joining Sussex this year are Rory Hamilton-Brown and Chris Jordan - both from Surrey - and right arm seamer Andrew Miller, who has signed a one-year contract following a pre-season trial.
Hamilton-Brown is a batsman whom Sussex fans should remember, following his two-year spell at Hove in 2008-09. He is a powerful, attacking batsman who can bowl some handy off-spin, something that will be particularly useful in our already strong limited overs sides. His batting should also help bolster Sussex's top order in the Championship too, and will be a key component in our push for the four-day crown this season.
Meanwhile fast bowling allrounder Jordan is a player whose potential has never quite been realised in his career to date. If he can deliver at Sussex, director of cricket Mark Robinson will have made a shrewd signing.
Miller joins having been released by Warwickshire at the end of last season, and will go some way to covering the overs lost following Wernars departure.
There are also changes to the team's leadership. Ed Joyce takes over as club captain from Mike Yardy, while Chris Nash has been appointed his understudy. Nash, leading run scorer in both first-class and T20 cricket last season, is a massively under-rated batsman and his 21 Championship wickets at 21.23 last year confirm him as one Sussex's key players in all formats.
But one thing that won't be changing is Sussex's main overseas players. Queenslander Steve Magoffin returns after a successful 2012 in which he took 53 Championship wickets, while Black Cap Scott Styris will be back for T20.
The club had also signed Australian John Hastings for their T20 campaign but he has had to pull out, requiring surgery on an injured ankle. His loss will be a blow, although we still have a strong T20 team, and it will be interesting to see who Robbo is able to draft in as his replacement.
While England commitments will restrict appearances for Matt Prior and possibly Luke Wright and Monty Panesar too, we wish them well in an Ashes summer.
Monty's bowling in particular will be missed, even more so if Graeme Swann's elbow injury doesn't heal as expected and Monty is required by England. Young Will Beer is waiting in the wings, but Panesar's Championship wickets, and his ability to slow down the run-rate in the middle overs of one-day cricket, will be a great loss.
Overall, I am excited by the arrival of Hamilton-Brown and Jordan from Surrey, and Miller has shown the right attitude to succeed here too. We haven't made wholesale changes over the winter, unlike some counties out there, and I believe we can build on fourth place last season.
In limited overs cricket I believe we have a real chance, particularly in T20, and I can see us mounting a serious challenge on Finals Day at Edgbaston in August.
Go On Sussex By The Sea!
Likely Championship side
Ed Joyce (capt),
What I love The club's history, proudly displayed in the club museum which opened last year. Also, being able to open a deck-chair and watch the cricket on the grass bank with a cold beer in the sun, along with the second hand book shack all contribute to a great day out watching cricket.
What I'd change The T20 cheerleaders (might not be exclusive to Hove!)
Tom Huelin also writes for a county cricket website, Deep Extra Cover, and describes himself as a left-arm spinner of no repute. He tweets here