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Bransgrove targets overseas firepower for 2014
Hampshire are hoping to sign a top-class bowler as their overseas player for 2014.
After drawing nine of their 15 LV County Championship matches this season, chairman Rod Bransgrove has confirmed that more bowling firepower is the priority, writes SIMON WALTER.
Hampshire could yet end the season with back-to-back wins, but have struggled in the Championship for most of the season.
Bransgrove said: “It’s been a bit of an Achilles heel this year, we haven’t quite been able to bowl teams out twice and we’re certainly looking at that area of the squad and also looking at engaging an overseas player who might help us in that respect.
“But equally we don’t want to lose the spirit and the quality we’ve got in short-form cricket. We need to keep the balance of the side right to keep the good players developing into the players we want them to be.
“We don’t want to put too many barriers in the way of good, aspiring young players, but equally we want to make sure we give our members and supporters the best quality we possibly can.
“There’ll be names bandied around, no doubt, and we have some very big boots to fill with Dimi Mascarenhas, who will be sorely missed both as a player and a person. Nonetheless, we have to move forward.
“We’ve got to look at the constituent parts of our current squad and see where we believe it needs bolstering up and what we can continue to build on in terms of our short-form success and hopefully engage the right people to complement that squad. We’re quite advanced in that as we speak.”
The Royals were the most consistent side in the country during the group campaigns of the Friends Life t20 and YB40 competitions this season, only to twice suffer semi-final heartbreak during their defence of last year’s historic limited-overs double.
A good start to their final match of the season against Essex yesterday means Hampshire should finish the season with more Championship points than last year. But they are likely to finish in their lowest position for a decade.
Does this represent a good season?
“Winning two trophies last year set the bar high, most teams would be quite happy to have reached two semi-finals,” said Bransgrove.
“I’m reasonably satisfied. I’m sorry we haven’t produced any silverware or got to a final but it’s a work in progress and it’s still going in absolutely the right direction, in my opinion.
“On balance it’s been adequate, we’ve continued to move forward with our objectives our younger players, three of whom were capped this season.
“They’re developing all the time and are becoming the kind of players we know they can be.”
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