Jason Gillespie is in no doubts. Rashid Khan is still the world’s No.1.

But the Sussex Sharks head coach reckons his star spinner could offer more than wickets and economy rate in this year’s Vitality Blast.

Twenty20 season at the 1st Central County Ground gets under way tonight when Hampshire visit (7pm).

It is the first of seven home fixtures, the second of which follows on Friday against Surrey.

Khan is on board for nine of Sussex’s remaining 13 South Group fixtures, home and away, following the washout at Hampshire on Friday.

He will be expected to bounce back from a tough World Cup, which made headlines for the wrong reasons when he was mauled by Eoin Morgan at Old Trafford.

And Gillespie reckons that bounce-back might not only be with his world renowned spin bowling.

Rashid was hard at in the gym yesterday having enjoyed a run out with Sussex 2nd XI on Monday, when he took 2-31 from four overs against Hampshire.

He has some act to follow, having taken 17 wickets in just 37 overs for Sussex last season at an average of less than 15 while maintaining an economy rate of 6.59 runs conceded per over.

Gillespie said: “Rash is a wonderful team mate.

“When he gets his length right, he is very difficult to score runs off.

“And obviously he is a wicket-taker, which we saw last season.

“We have seen that all around the world.

“There is a reason why he is the No.1 bowler in this format in world cricket.

“His team Afghanistan didn’t have a great World Cup and he is certainly disappointed in that.

“He had some good games and not-so-good games. That happens in international cricket.

“He has been working hard ever since he has been here.

“A real feature of Rashid is his work ethic and how he goes about things.

“He played a second team game and bowled well. He has been training really well.

“He is putting a lot of time into his bowling, also his fielding and certainly his batting.

“He can play a real role for us in that middle order this year because he can clear the rope.

“Hopefully we won’t need him too often but, if we do, I am sure he is more than capable of doing something for us.”

Sussex do not expect to see Jofra Archer for some time and are still unsure over their third World Cup player, Alex Carey.

Australia are set to name their Ashes squad tomorrow with Carey now a contender for selection.

Ben Brown, who put in a lot of work on his batting against the white ball in South Africa last winter, steps in.

Brown tuned up with knocks of 64 from 36 balls and 24 not out off 18 for the 2nds on Monday.

Gillespie said: “Browny has had a heavy season so far as club captain, wicketkeeper and he has been our most effective batsman.

“He has had a big workload and ideally I’d like to be able to give him a rest.

“But he is a professional. The one thing he has done really well is get himself as fit and as strong as he can over the winter and he has continued that through the summer.

“He is very disciplined about his training regime, his running and his gym work.

“We are sure he can do a fine job. He batted very well in the 2nds and I thought he kept beautifully as well.”

Sussex will not risk Chris Jordan tonight as he recovers from a strained knee tendon.

But Reece Topley could make his debut after signing recently.

Gillespie said: “We have to make sure we are striving to be better. Keep evolving, keep improving.

“Reece Topley is a great acquisition for us. He is bowling the house down at the moment.

“We don’t expect to see Jofra Archer too much but he’s playing for England and we are delighted for him.

“Any time we can welcome him back, we certainly will!”