Thanks to "Anon" last night who posted that the young Sussex batsman I referred to was Rajesh Rao.
In 46 first class innings his highest score was 89 and this was a man who opened innings and was a top order batsman. He finished with an average of just over 20, which is a fairly poor return. In one day cricket his average was 24 from 43 innings but it would have been much the same as his first class record but for his knock against Derbyshire on July 29 1997 at Derby.
I was at the game with my Dad and it was glorious weather. Adrian Rollins and Dominic Cork opened the batting for us but it was Chris Adams who stole the show with a superb unbeaten 129 as we posted 327-8 in 60 overs. This was the Nat West Bank quarter final, so we were understandably buoyant at the interval as we ate our sandwiches. Our attack was strong - Malcolm, De Freitas, Cork, Aldred, Barnett, Harris and Clarke and we fancied our chances.
Even more so when, as I walked round to the ice cream van as Devon bowled his first over he bowled Keith Greenfield neck and crop. The biggest name in the Sussex ranks was Bill Athey and none of us were too fussed when this young chap Rao came in.
Yet he slaughtered us, making 158 out of 278 before he was dismissed and the game was won by then. It went to the last over, but this young batsman had his day and one wondered if it was a prelude to greater things.
It was not to be. He never made another first class century and, like the old Nottinghamshire batsman Ted Alletson, will probably relive his great innings long into his dotage. That July day, Rajesh Rao was simply brilliant and rendered a top international attack (four of them, anyway) impotent.
Anyway, as always happens the 606 moanzone is in full spate. We're bottlers now, which to some extent is true as we didn't win, but does a disservice to bowlers who did their damnedest and a skipper who rang more changes than the church bellringers. I can accept an accusation like that if we collapse limply chasing a tiny total, but when they're doing all they can and getting no reward, without their leading bowler, it's patently unfair.