HAMPSHIRE will be without an overseas player for the first time in five T20 Finals Days.
Kyle Abbott has confirmed he will not be returning from South Africa’s one-day series in Zimbabwe for the biggest day of the county season, at Edgbaston on August 23.
Glenn Maxwell will not be back either, after leaving for a Cricket Australia training camp, while Australian bowler Nathan Rimmington will not be brought back for his second T20 appearance of the season.
And there is no chance of an overseas player being registered specifically for Finals Day, following the rule change made after Essex drafted in Dwayne Bravo for their semi-final defeat against Hampshire at The Ageas Bowl in 2010. It means Hampshire’s fifth successive T20 semi-final will be their first without an overseas player.
Abdul Razzaq and Dan Christian (2010), Shahid Afridi and Imran Tahir (2011), Simon Katich (2012) and Sohail Tanvir (2013) have all played for Hampshire at previous Finals Days.
But director of cricket Giles White is backing his young squad to succeed without overseas aid when they take on Lancashire in Finals Day’s second semi-final (2.30pm start).
He said: “The side’s changing the whole time, it’s adapted without having an overseas player in the side before and it’s been very much a team effort all season. It’s always been about someone chipping in at the right time.
“Someone has usually got us over the line, that’s been a trait of the team over the last few years and it bodes well.
“And although Glenn and Kyle have given us a lot in many areas, if we take the [T20] performances of the overseas players in isolation, numbers wise they haven’t made a huge impact.”
Both Abbott and Maxwell bid farewell to Hampshire on Twitter following the stunning quarter-final win against Notts at Trent Bridge.
Abbott tweeted: “Thank you @hantscricket for the last 4 months of cricket. Been an awesome experience and id [sic] like to thank everyone who made me feel at home!”
Maxwell wrote: “Home time! Thanks to @hantscricket for another amazing season! Apologies to the fans for the lack of runs. Good luck finals day lads!”
Abbott’s yorkers may be missed at the death, but Hampshire will be able to bring in an extra spinner in Liam Dawson, while Owais Shah will be the ideal replacement for Maxwell.
White hopes to bring Abbott back one day, but that is unlikely to happen next season. “That’s how it looks but you never know how things pan out, there may be a window that suits everyone,” said White.
Abbott will be missed most in the Championship after taking 36 wickets at 20.3 apiece to put Hampshire in serious contention for promotion. “Kyle’s been an outstanding overseas player, one of the best we’ve had,” said White.
“I’m sure he’ll be very successful for South Africa, but there will always be a place for him here if he becomes available.”