Tom Haines is ready for the challenges of leadership again as Sussex Sharks aim to go one better in this season’s Metro Bank One-Day Cup.

The Sharks topped their group with six wins out of eight last year only to lose in the semi-finals against Lancashire and Haines, who will resume the captaincy having missed most of last year’s tournament with a broken hand, believes his team are capable of going well again.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Haines who relishes the opportunity at the top of the order to transfer his aggressive, attacking approach from red to white-ball cricket.

“I missed most of last year when I was supposed to be captain after I broke my hand and [Cheteshwar] Pujara stepped in and took us to the semi-finals.

“I like being captain and thinking about the decisions I have to make.

"It has definitely improved me as a cricketer, learning about how to deal with pressure situations. I can also lean on guys like Puj and Tom Alsop, who have so much experience.”

Haines’ confidence does not look to be misplaced. All of the key players from 2022 are available and Sussex have only lost two players – George Garton and Tymal Mills – to The Hundred, fewer than most of their rivals. And Mills would not have been in contention anyway.

Pujara will return from playing in India this week in time for Sussex’s opening match against Durham at Hove while coach Paul Farbrace expects both Ali Orr and Steve Finn to be fit for the tournament after recovering from injury.

Pujara scored 624 runs including three hundreds last year and Haines’ opening partner Orr wasn’t far behind with 526, 206 coming in one innings against Somerset when he scored Sussex’s first List A double hundred.

Others like Tom Clark, James Coles and Jack Carson will also play vital roles alongside the experienced Pujara and Alsop.

Look out too for 17-year-old academy batter Henry Rogers, who made 74 off 73 balls in Sunday’s warm-up match against Oxfordshire.

Finn’s experience – he has taken 201 List A wickets – will be important and after nearly a year on the sidelines Farbrace is anxious to have him back.

“He is an excellent, intelligent, senior professional, who has been a role model for the bowlers in our group all year,” said Farbrace.

“But the thing he wants to do more than anything is to get back on the field helping the team, and he isn’t far away so that is great news for us.”

Sussex’s last one-day triumph was back in 2006. That squad have all retired of course, although James Kirtley – who took five wickets in the Lord’s final against Lancashire – is a link to 17 years ago in his role as fast-bowling coach.

“It’s within our grasp to go one better and it would be brilliant to get to the final, winning trophies like those great Sussex teams of the past is what we’re aiming for,” added Haines. “We’ve got quite a settled group and we’re confident we can do well.”

Sussex play Buckinghamshire in a warm-up fixture at Hove tomorrow (11am) and admission is free. 

Sussex squad (v Bucks): Alsop, Carson, Carter (wk), Clark, Coles, Crocombe, Currie, Finn, Haines (c), Hudson-Prentice, Karvelas, Lenham, Rogers, Ward.