Coach Mark Robinson is determined that the match-fixing scandal will not derail Sussex’s bid for silverware this season.
Robinson and skipper Ed Joyce spoke for the first time about the allegations surrounding former players Lou Vincent and Naved Arif yesterday.
He admitted the news that Vincent and Arif have been charged with 20 offences of fixing games in 2011 had rocked the whole club.
But he called on supporters, players and staff to pull together to get through what has been a difficult period, having made an encouraging start, to the season on the pitch.
Robinson said: “We are all deeply shocked by the recent allegations. The players’ ethos is built on a will to win and the thought that anybody amongst us at any time may have been working against that aim sickens and disgusts us.
“We, like all those who care for the club, are angry but we are determined that the news of the last few weeks will bring us closer together, both as a playing group and with the supporters.
“We have got a dressing room that is hurting and a club that is hurting at the moment but we have got to come together. It was 2011, it is now 2014. We have got to move on and I have got absolute confidence in the boys in that dressing room, 100%.
“We are very tight and very close. That is why they (the players) had a discussion on Sunday and felt they wanted to express what they are feeling which is that everything they stand for as individuals has been tarnished.”
Sussex have called a special forum at Hove for next Monday to discuss the issue with members and are keen to stress the club is doing everything it can to aid the investigation into corruption in cricket.
The fact an investigation is ongoing means the club are unable to talk about the actual case involving Vincent and Arif but chief executive Zac Toumazi hopes the scandal will not reflect on those players still at the club.
Toumazi said: “I think it would be fair to say that Sussex fans are shocked, upset and disappointed by what has come out but my plea is that this is not the actions of a club or a county.
“If proven this is the behaviour of two individuals. If we want to move the game forward we need to deal with the offenders and not punish everyone who happens to be in the arena.
“Ultimately we all love this game and I would like our players to be able to go and play without worrying that if they drop a catch someone is going to make a stupid comment.”