Chris Nash is ready to captain Sussex – less than three months after being rushed to hospital with a potentially fatal illness.
Nash is expected to make his comeback from a burst appendix which ruled him out of the first three Championship games of the season as Sussex take on Lancashire at Old Trafford today.
The 30-year-old came through three days of cricket with the Sussex 2nd XI against Surrey at Horsham this week with no ill effects and will go straight into the side as captain with skipper Ed Joyce on international duty with Ireland.
It is a remarkable turnaround for Nash, who missed the whole of pre-season after collapsing at home in February and undergoing emergency surgery to remove his appendix.
The England Lions batsman was not allowed to return to training until last month and had not bowled a ball until Wednesday when he got through four overs in the second team game at Cricketfield Road.
Nash said: “I’m raring to go. I’ve not missed many games for Sussex during my career so it has been tough these last few weeks and I can’t wait to get back out there and start my season.
“It has been a long few months and it was painful not being able to join in with the lads during pre-season.
“I’ve had to do everything on my own but has all been worth it in the end.
“It was nice to get three days’ cricket under my belt this week as now I know I can last a four-day game. I think it would have been a risk for both me and the team to have played against Somerset in the last game but now I’ve got no doubts.
“I was maybe a little bit wary going into the second team game but it went absolutely perfectly. I got a few runs and managed to bowl for the first time and felt absolutely fine.”
Nash’s return could not have come at a better time with Joyce missing the game due to Ireland’s ODIs against Sri Lanka next Tuesday and Thursday.
Joyce has opened the batting with Luke Wells in the first three games of the season so Nash will return to the top of the order as well as taking over as captain.
Sussex will also be without star bowler Chris Jordan, who is part of an England training camp ahead of their ODI against Scotland next Friday. with Lancashire missing James Anderson and Jos Buttler for the same reason.
Matt Prior could also play as a specialist batsman as he eases his way back from an ongoing Achilles injury which has ruled him out of the last two games.
Nash added: “Obviously Ed has been in superb form this season so to lose him is a big blow and it means that the rest of us are going to have to step up and score some runs.
“It was disappointing to lose against Somerset in the last game but I think that result highlights how strong the division is. You can look at all the nine teams and they are pretty evenly matched so to have won two out of the first three games is a good start to the season.”