Leicestershire director of elite performance Andrew McDonald believes Sussex will provide a measure of how much the Foxes have improved this season when the two counties meet in the County Championship at Hove from Sunday.
The 13 points Leicestershire picked up against Kent earlier this week represented a reasonable return from a match which lost the best part of two days to the weather, leaving McDonald’s side second in Division Two with a game in hand on leaders Essex.
“We ran out of time against Kent, but overall I was impressed with the way we backed up on our win against Glamorgan first time out,” said the Australian.
“We got ourselves into the driver’s seat, and I’m impressed with the style of cricket the guys are playing right now. Mark Cosgrove and Neil Dexter made magnificent and very positive centuries, enabling us to pass 400 in our first innings for the second successive match, and that’s the consistency we’re looking for.
“We had good patches at times last season, but you have to be consistent to give yourselves a chance. We’ve done that so far, the challenge now is to do it again against a side which has been playing mostly first division cricket in recent years.
“Everyone will see it as a yardstick, they’re probably the benchmark for the competition and no doubt we’ll go down there as underdogs, but we’re seeing a return for the work we’ve done. It’s no fluke we’re going forward.”
Batsman Neil Dexter, who scored a fine 131 on his home debut for the Foxes after his move from Middlesex, said the squad was looking forward to the trip to Hove.
“I see good signs here of a team coming together, playing selflessly, fighting for each other rather than just themselves,” said the South African.
“We’ve started reasonably well, but it’s very important we keep improving. Sussex have been a “Div One” team for a while, I’ve played against them a lot in recent years, and they’re a tough team, they play hard cricket.The guys can’t wait to get down there and see how they measure up.”
Leicestershire will assess injuries incurred by wicket-keeper Niall O’Brien and fast bowler Zak Chappell on the final afternoon against Kent before confirming their squad.
O’Brien dislocated a finger, but is expected to be fit to travel, while Chappell pulled up in mid-over.