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Dawson could be Hampshire's answer
8:00am Tuesday 19th March 2013 in Sport
LIAM Dawson is set to fill Hampshire’s vacant number-three spot when the season begins next month.
With Bilal Shafayat no longer with the club and Neil McKenzie not available until June, young Dawson is set to fill the void.
Shafayat batted there last season but failed to take his chance in the pivotal position, contributing 289 runs at 28.9.
Prior to that, Michael Carberry batted at first wicket down so that Dawson could develop his opening partnership with Jimmy Adams.
But, with the proven Carberry-Adams combination set to start the season, Dawson has revealed he will bat at three.
The likes of Chris Benham, Michael Lumb, John Crawley and Johann Myburgh have all batted there under Giles White in recent years.
But Dawson hopes to become Hampshire’s long-term answer. The 23 year-old all-rounder scored an unbeaten 80 against county champions Warwickshire last week and is set to continue at three when Hampshire conclude their Caribbean tour with a two-day friendly against Barbados, starting tomorrow.
He said: I think I’m going to start the season at three and I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully I can start as I mean to go on.”
Dawson has batted at three on a few occasions for Hampshire before, scoring 63 runs at 15.7 from three Championship matches in 2010.
His best season to date was as Adams’s opening partner in 2011, when he scored 908 runs at 36.3.
But, after struggling at the top of the order during the first half of last season (179 runs at 14.9), he seemed to have found his position at five, where he immediately returned to form with an unbeaten 134 against Kent at Tunbridge Wells and scored 402 runs at 50.2.
He hopes to transfer that form to his new role, believing that greater mental toughness is his key to success this season.
“I think I’ve got a pretty solid technique so if I can crack the mental side of my game I’ll be fine,” he said.
“Last year I gave my wicket away a bit, mentally I wasn’t strong enough but I want to be better, cash in when I’m in and not give my wicket away. If I can get better at that I can score lots of runs.”
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