Coach out to complete four-day mission

Hampshire have missed Kyle Abott. Picture: Neil Marshall

Hampshire have missed Kyle Abott. Picture: Neil Marshall

Nic McMurray

Burridge stepped up to turn form book around

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Dale Benkenstein has revealed his Championship experience was one of the key reasons for his recruitment as Hampshire’s first-team coach.

The South African has turned a team that was a successful limited overs side – but a struggling four-day outfit – into promotion challengers this term.

Hampshire are very much in the promotion frame going into their final four fixtures as they battle for one of the top two places to seal a return to division one.

Their latest clash at Kent starts today, and although Hampshire have secured their place at Natwest T20 Blast finals day, Benkenstein is not satisfied with his season’s achievements yet.

He said: ‘Coming in, that was one of the mandates for me.

‘Giles White wanted me to use my experience in the Championship to try to get them to improve their four-day cricket and improve their outlook.

‘It was almost as if they dropped off in four-day cricket because they didn’t see it as a challenge or a game they wanted to play because of their success in t20.

‘I think that has changed.’

Kyle Abbott is a key loss to the team and Chris Wood is expected to be given his first Championship start of the year at Canterbury.

But while Basil Akram has also been named in the squad, Benkenstein believes the batting is just as important as his players try to discover their consistency.

‘I think the batting is going to be very important going into the four-day stuff as well,’ said Benkenstein.

‘If we get our runs on the board, it makes winning easier.

‘And if we do it in the first innings, we can get points and that could be crucial in September.’

Meanwhile, Hampshire’s 50-over contest against Sri Lanka A was washed out yesterday.

After the tourists won the toss and chose to bat, they reached 84 for one from 18 overs before the match was abandoned.

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