Tom Haines says he would have to have “a good think” about turning his four-game stint as Sussex’s captain in the Championship into something more permanent.

But the 22-year-old will surely never forget his first four-day game in charge at Hove.

Haines became the first batsman in the competition to pass 1,000 runs this season on the final day of this heavy defeat by Middlesex.

It was a match which saw him in the field for 161 overs (six of which he bowled himself) and spend a further 156 overs in the middle, bat in hand, as he made a career best 156 followed by yesterday’s 87.

Most of that was done across three of the hottest days of the year.

Haines had to find ways for his young attack to somehow stem a tide of runs which brought Middlesex the biggest total in their 157-year history.

He admitted to being physically and mentally tired after all that.

Whether he got all his bowling rotations and field placings right is for far wiser cricketing minds to decide.

But it was a hell of an effort – and not one which will dim his enjoyment of captaincy.

Haines is open to the possibility of taking charge next season if asked, without committing any further in his comments for now.

He told The Argus: “I’ve captained in the second team and in the age groups all the way through really at Sussex.

“It’s something I enjoy and it’s something hopefully I can do in the future for Sussex as well.

“I’ve just been told it’s until the end of the season.

“Nothing else has said really on that topic.”

Haines added any decision on captaincy would have to be made on conversation with coaches over the winter.

He has two more games in which to impress before then, away to Leicestershire and at home to Derbyshire.

As Middlesex celebrated a win secured by a ten-wicket haul for leg-spinner Luke Hollman, Haines said he had never felt more tired after a game.

He added: “Physically and mentally it is very tiring, playing four-day cricket.

“That’s why it is the best format of the game for me.

“I love it and it’s so rewarding when you get things right.

“You have to think about where to put which fielder for which bowler, what plans are we going to come up with, what can we try next when things aren’t going well.

“It’s definitely tiring but is something that I really enjoy.”

Haines has enjoyed a landmark season, having previously admitted he had started to fall out of love with the game at one stage.

He has no plans to become overly-consumed by the captaincy as long as he retains the role.


Asked whether he thought about the game when he got home, he said: “I try to swich off as much as I can.

“I do my own thing, get away from cricket, then come back in the morning and talk about it with the coaches.”

Avoiding defeat on the final day, with just seven wickets intact, always looked a tall order for Sussex.

But Haines was disappointed they did not make a better fight of it.

He said: “We genuinely believed when we turned up today that we could get a draw but we didn’t bat well enough on the last two days, which is disappointing because there was enough skill in our dressing room to have batted through and got the draw.

“There were a few poor shots and lapses in concentration from us.

“I’m not taking anything away from their bowling but we did give them a few wickets which we didn’t need to.”

Fynn Hudson-Prentice helped Haines add 81 for the sixth wicket and scored a half-century.

The hosts were still 269 runs in arrears at the start yesterday and lost George Garton in the fifth over when he got a thin edge to wicketkeeper John Simpson pushing forward to Hollman.

Dan Ibrahim looked solid enough until he chipped a tame catch to mid-on to give Hollman another wicket.

Hudson-Prentice played some eye-catching drives off Hollman and the Middlesex seamers and for a while Sussex entertained thoughts of saving the game.

But Haines, who had been on the field for all but 34 balls of the match, not surprisingly tired and on 87 tried to drive Hollman down the ground and Thilan Walallawita made ground to take the catch at long off.

He had faced 170 balls and hit eight fours, taking his aggregate for the season to 1,030 runs at an average of 51.96.

It was what you could call a captain’s innings - but his hard work might just be starting.