Sussex have underlined their faith in young fast bowler Matt Hobden by giving him a new two-year professional contract which will keep him at Hove until the end of the 2016 season.
Hobden has struggled with a serious shin injury since making an impressive debut in the televised YB40 match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
The 21-year-old from Eastbourne missed the final three months of last season and has yet to come through a full game for the 2nd XI this year.
But coach Mark Robinson believes Hobden – who finishes his studies at Cardiff University this week - has the potential to be a replacement for Chris Jordan while he is away on England duty.
Robinson said: “Matt is an exciting prospect as he can bowl quick but you have to remember he hasn’t done anything yet. “He has that yard of pace and obviously we have to find a way of overcoming the likely absence of CJ. Matt could potentially do that but he is still unproven even at second team level.
“We’ve got to get him fit first but we’re hoping he will be able to play in a three-day game in a couple of weeks’ time and then he’ll be closer to getting selected for the first team.
“The injury he had could have been really serious and had to treat him very carefully to make sure it doesn’t keep flaring up.
“That is why we have given him another two years after this season to give him that security and ensure he does the right thing as oppose to rushing it.
“We also want to give him time to get his action safe because obviously what he is doing at the moment is causing lot of strain through his shins.”
Hobden said: “It’s really nice to have the security of a new contract. It’s great that Sussex are backing me for that length of time and I can now pace myself in terms of getting back to full fitness.
“I can solely concentrate on cricket now I am about to finish university so I’ll be looking to prove myself in the second team and hopefully knock on the door of the first 11 very soon.”