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Looking back: Aussies who made a mark in Sussex
7:10pm Tuesday 23rd July 2013 in News
The Ashes summer is well under way, and as the professional era progressed, more and more Australians travelled halfway around the world to ply their trade and vice-versa.
In 1998, The Argus reported the then Sussex captain Chris Adams has signed a winter contract to play for Australian club Canberra Comets.
Talking of the move, he said: “There are a couple of things I’ve got to work on.
“For most of the season I was hitting the ball too hard.
“But I’ m pretty pleased with the way things have gone from a personal point of view.
“It has been gruelling with the move, the captaincy and the expectation of getting in the top eight.
“That is a remarkable achievement for the lads.”
Adams took his part in their oneday competition and his first match was be against New South Wales, the home team of his Sussex teammate and vice-captain Michael Bevan.
He did so at the end of a season where Adams could have done with his number two, but Bevan missed both the start and end of the county campaign with the national team.
The Australian averaged 55 for Sussex in a season where Adams steered the team to seventh place to secure a spot in the coveted Super Cup.
Adams said: “It’s a shame Michael left for the Commonwealth Games with Australia when he did.
It exposed our weakness in the middle order. We need a bit more experience in the batting line-up and if we can recruit a quality List One player this winter we will be a better team next year.”
Bevan played for Sussex between 1998 and 2000, and was joined by countryman Michael Di Venuto in 1999.
It was a ploy by Di Venuto to be noticed by the Australian selectors, and said he would be a hit with Sussex.
After making his international debut in 1997 against South Africa, his Sussex escapade didn’t rekindle his international pedigree.
However, the 25-year-old Tasmanian left-hander was well liked at Hove and has since become a popular figure on the English county circuit.
At the time of his arrival in February 1999, Di Venuto said: “I enjoyed the one-dayers I played last season but the team was chopped and changed a bit and unfortunately I’ve lost out.”
“Australia are playing some good one-day cricket at the moment so it’s hard to get back in, but I’m only 25 and I feel I’ve got some good years ahead of me. Coming to Sussex is a great opportunity for me and I’m pretty excited about it already.”
Sussex moved for Di Venuto, who captained Australia A on their unbeaten tour of Scotland and Ireland last summer, after deciding that Damian Martyn, their original first choice, was a risky selection after he regained his place in Australia’s one-day squad.
Di Venuto added: “I’ve heard they have got a bit of pace and bounce which should suit me.
“I’m a pretty aggressive batsman, if it’s in my good areas I will go after the ball but I can also play pretty tight if the situation demands it.”
Before Di Venuto and Bevan was another Aussie star – Tony Dodemaide.
He played for Sussex between 1989 and 1991 after coming over from Victoria.
The right-arm quick made his international debut against New Zealand in the prestigious Boxing Day test in 1987.
His spell at Sussex helped him to 534 first class wickets and just shy of 6,000 first class runs.
ON THIS DAY
776: BC The first Olympic Games opened in Olympia. The foot race was won by Coroibos, a cook.
1759: Work started on the Royal Navy's 104-gun battleship HMS Victory at Chatham, Kent.
1904: The first ice cream cone was made by Charles Menches in Missouri.
1940: The Local Defence Volunteers were renamed the Home Guard by Winston Churchill.
1955: Donald Campbell broke the world water speed record on Ullswater when he reached 202.32mph in Bluebird.
1986: Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson in Westminster Abbey, and was made Duke of York.
The Argus’ popular “Looking Back” feature has been compiled into an A4, soft back book which catalogues the events that have made their mark on the people of Sussex. The fascinating archive of “Looking Back” images dates back to the 1930s when The Argus first started to print photographs. The book costs £6.99 including postage and packing. To order please visit theargus.co.uk/store
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