September 20, 2000

Bevan bombshell for Sussex

Staff and agencies

Sussex have been rocked by the news that Michael Bevan is to take next summer off. Although the 30 year old Australian has stressed that he will happily resume his county career in 2002, he feels that he needs rest in order to retain his long term fitness.

"I haven't had an off season since 1993 because of county and club cricket, an Ashes tour and a World Cup," Bevan explained, "but this summer I've really felt that my body could not handle playing non stop all year round."

Widely regarded as the finest one day batsman in the world he has represented Australia 144 times in limited overs internationals, averaging almost 60 runs an innings. His contributions for Sussex this year have been remarkable; he averaged 117 in The National League, and nearly 300 in The Benson and Hedges Cup.

Bevan admitted that the burden of carrying a disappointing Sussex side has weighed heavily this season, "I played when I shouldn't have done," he explained, "but they were important games for the team and I wanted to do my bit."

As well as his one day exploits he scored 1124 runs in the County Championship, and led the national averages (74.93.) Sussex will no doubt find filling his shoes a daunting task, as even with his heroics the team finished last in the second division of the county championship, and were relegated in last place of the National League's first division.

On a brighter note for Sussex, Chief Executive Dave Gilbert has announced that the club have offered 25 year old pace bowler James Kirtley an extension to his contract.

Kirtley took over 60 wickets in the championship this season, at a cost of under 25 each. As Gilbert admitted, "James is worth his weight in gold to us."