James Coles has been told he can play for England.

Now the 20-year-old Sussex all-rounder hopes to follow up an impressive start to the season by helping his county to an away win.

Coles impressed with his batting, spin bowling and catching in the opening draw at home to Northants.

The county are at the Uptonsteel County Ground in Grace Road today to start a Vitality County Championship contest with Leicestershire.

They were largely encouraged by their efforts at home to Northants and Coles was among the plusses.

A razor sharp catch taken low to his left at third slip off Ollie Robinson was among the highlights as his team chased a win against the clock.

Head coach Paul Farbrace revealed: “I have said to him a few times the only reason I don’t think he will be our next club captain is because he will be playing for England.

“I genuinely think he has got all attributes to play international cricket.

“Catches like that are catches that the best players catch. It was a fantastic catch.

“His bowling has improved. He has worked so hard on his bowling over the winter and he is getting reward for his hard work.

“But his batting just looks like it is getting better and better with every innings that he plays.

“He is so good to watch and from the moment he came into the team he looked like someone who has been playing first-class cricket for the last ten years, never mind one year.”

Coles scored 44 and 63 as Sussex won a thriller at home to Leicestershire towards the end of last season.

He totalled 849 Championship runs at 42.45 in 2023 and took five wickets at more than 100 apiece.

The batting more than lived up to that last week as he scored 78 and the bowling followed on from his three wickets for England Lions in their third unofficial test with India a couple of months previously.

Coles, who joined the Sussex academy when he was 12 and has also played for Oxfordshire, said: “Working with Graeme Swann in the winter, he told me that one of my main attributes was the bounce I could get.

“Being given the opportunity to develop my game in the winter helped my confidence, to try and take wickets rather than just control the run rate.”

Robinson also looked in good nick and was another of the positives to come from the opening fixture.

Farbrace said: “His energy though the crease and carry on the ball through to the keeper were top class.

“That was really good. With each spell he bowled, he got better.

“When you are a big fella as a bowler, you need to get rhythm and the only way you get rhythm is to bowl overs.

“He has practised around us for the last few weeks and I thought he was really starting to get his rewards with the ball.

“The longer he bowled, the better he bowled.

“Oliver and Jayden (Seales) look like quite a formidable attack for us.

“Then you back that up with Fynn Hudson-Prentice and Danny Lamb, I think we have got a really good, balanced attack at the moment.”