HAMPSHIRE are looking for their fourth overseas player of the season as Glenn Maxwell and Kyle Abbott prepare to bid farewell after tomorrow’s Natwest T20 Blast quarter-final at Trent Bridge.
Maxwell is hoping to be available for the biggest game of Hampshire’s season so far, as a scan yesterday afternoon confirmed he is recovering quickly from the abdominal strain he sustained while warming up for Thursday’s Royal London One-Day Cup defeat against Gloucestershire at Bristol.
But it will be his last game and it may well also be Abbott’s final appearance of the season, although Hampshire are hoping South Africa will release him to play at Finals Day should they win tomorrow. What is certain is that Hampshire are currently without an overseas player for their last five 50-over group games and their last four LV County Championship matches.
Director of cricket Giles White said: “We’re looking at our options, but finding another overseas player is not straight forward.
“There’s a limited pool of players out there because of international cricket and the T20 Champions League in September.”
Hampshire have already brought in Nathan Rimmington for one T20 game, but he will not be returning this season. “He’s one for the future,” said White.
Meanwhile, Michael Carberry could also return for tomorrow’s game following the hand injury he suffered at Derby on Saturday.
“We’ll see where Maxi’s at nearer the game but he’s confident he’ll be all right and Carbs should be back as well,” said White. “His hand was still swollen at Bristol but it’s under control.”
Should Maxwell and Carberry join Abbott in returning, Hampshire will be at full strength for their sixth T20 quarter-final in as many years. They are returning to the scene of one of their most memorable and dramatic T20 wins.
Two years ago, Neil McKenzie saw Hampshire to a last-ball victory under the Trent Bridge floodlights with an unbeaten 79 (49 balls) after they had been reduced to 78-5, needing 179 to win, at halfway.
Maxwell, who has only bowled three overs of his off-spin in this year’s competition, starred with 3-36 that night but has had a poor campaign with the bat.
After smashing a match-winning 146 against Lancashire at Old Trafford on Sunday he will also be determined to make up for the wild swing that left Hampshire in the mire in the last game of his first county stint.
Maxwell’s IPL form was partly why Hampshire began the season as T20 Blast favourites, but they are underdogs tomorrow.
Hampshire ended their South Division fixtures with successive wins but Notts have won their last seven T20 games and last lost nearly two months ago.
They have included nine players involved in the 2012 quarter-final in a 13-man squad, while Hampshire are likely to field up to seven from that memorable night. They are: Maxwell, James Vince, Jimmy Adams, Sean Ervine, Liam Dawson, Chris Wood and Danny Briggs.
“Our team’s evolved since 2012 but this group also has a lot of talent,” said White. “We’re as confident as one can be, but we’ll have to play very good cricket for 40 overs to beat a very good Notts side.”
Meanwhile, 17 year-old Brad Taylor is making his Under-19 Test debut for England against South Africa at Fenner’s after receiving a late call-up.
Hampshire (from): Vince, Carberry, Maxwell, Adams, Coles, Smith, Ervine, Wheater, Dawson, Wood, Briggs, Abbott.
Nottinghamshire (from): Hales, Lumb, Wessels, Patel, Taylor, Franklin, Mullaney, Read, Shahzad, Fletcher, Gurney, Ball, Wood.