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News

Michael Yardy returns to Sussex as academy director

Former club captain had previous stint on coaching staff between 2017 and 2019

Michael Yardy spent two seasons as Kent's batting coach  •  Getty Images

Michael Yardy spent two seasons as Kent's batting coach  •  Getty Images

Michael Yardy, the former Sussex and England allrounder, has returned to Hove as academy director after two seasons as batting coach with Kent. Yardy replaces Richard Halsall, who has left Sussex to pursue new opportunities.
Yardy spent the entirety of his 15-year playing career with Sussex, where he was captain between 2009 and 2012, winning three Championships and multiple white-ball titles, as well as recognition with England. He retired in 2015, returning to the club as 2nd XI/batting coach two years later, and also worked with England Young Lions before moving to Australia to fulfil a similar role with New South Wales.
Yardy, who helped England win the 2010 T20 World Cup, spoke openly about his mental health issues during his career, subsequently going on to study for a degree in sports psychology.
"It's great to be coming back to Sussex, particularly in a role that is so crucial to the future of the club," Yardy said. "My various roles in the time since I was last at the club have given me a wide range of perspectives which I believe will serve me well as I return to Hove.
"Top of my list of priorities is making sure our emerging young players are ready for professional cricket and can perform in the first team as quickly as possible after reaching that level. As well as the technical and tactical requirements, making sure they've got the mental approach and resilience they'll need will be a big focus of mine and something we'll be looking at throughout the pathway.
"There are some very good coaches throughout the pathway and they'll play a big part in shaping our approach. Rich Halsall has done some excellent work over the last few years and we'll be looking to build on that as we strive to make the Sussex pathway the best in cricket.
"If we can do that, then we'll be producing cricketers that can not only win games and trophies for Sussex but also do the same for England.
"I massively enjoyed my two seasons at Kent, which is a special club with a special group of players. I've made some great friends there and it was great to be part of their success last season, more of which I'm sure will follow."
Sussex endured a tough summer in 2021, despite reaching T20 Blast Finals Day, finishing bottom of Division Three of the County Championship and losing nine of their 14 games with a squad heavily reliant on young players.
Sussex's performance director, Keith Greenfield, said: "Everyone at the club is incredibly excited that Yards will be returning home to Sussex Cricket. We couldn't wish for a better person to be leading the development of the young Sussex players of the future.
"The different cricket experiences and knowledge he has gained will be invaluable to the players he will work with. In particular, Mike's psychology degree will enable him to develop the mental skills of players, which are so vital in the modern game.
"I can't wait to resume my working relationship with Yards as we work towards giving Sussex the best talent production line in cricket.
"Mike will also work closely with Phil Hudson, who will now be responsible for managing our boys' pathway programme from U10 to U16 level to enable Mike to focus on our overall talent development strategy and pay special attention to our academy players."