Liam Dawson believes his move down the Hampshire batting order will benefit both himself and the rest of the team.
The 22-year-old has opened the batting alongside skipper Jimmy Adams all season but saw his place at the top of the order handed to Michael Carberry for this week’s County Championship division two clash at Kent.
That saw Dawson return to the middle order – a position he has occupied in the past with some success – as Adams and manager Giles White attempt to ease the workload on a player whose spin bowling has recently become a more integral part of the team’s make-up.
Dawson has a top score of just 35 so far this season and an average of 16.75 – his task made more difficult by facing the new ball on so many difficult batting tracks early in the season.
But he stuck at it in Kent to remain on 22 not out alongside Simon Katich (43 not out) as little more than an hour’s play was possible on day two of the clash, with Hampshire moving on to 90 for three.
Dawson was informed of the decision to switch his role on the eve of the game and accepts he could have suffered from mental fatigue with so many strings to his bow.
He explained: ‘Because my bowling is back now and I’ve bowled pretty well all summer, they are looking for me to bat in the middle order.
‘If I am fielding at second slip, opening the batting and bowling a lot, it can be mentally very hard.
‘The coaches see me as a genuine all-rounder now which is a big positive for me and hopefully a big positive for the club.
‘Hopefully it helps keep me fresh in all aspects of batting, bowling and fielding.
‘Opening the batting is a good spot but it will be mentally tiring if I am playing in all of those crucial roles.
‘I think it will work well for me and work well for the team as well.
‘It was solely down to the management. They told me it would be a good idea to keep me fresh and I am happy to do whatever they want me to do.
‘As long as you’re playing, that’s the main thing. My bowling has been a massive positive for me this year.’
While the clash with Kent now looks set to end in another draw, Dawson has not given up hope of the two sides setting up a contest.
Dawson said: ‘It’s the story of the summer unfortunately.
‘It’s been pretty poor weather-wise and it’s very frustrating.
‘It’s looking like it’s going to be a draw or a shoot-out for bonus points.
‘You never know, though – we might be able to set a game up between the two captains, so we’ll see what happens.
‘It was tricky batting out there. Kent are the sort of team who look to bowl a lot of dot balls.
‘But the wicket is pretty dead and slow, so it suits their bowlers.
‘It’s not doing a huge amount but it’s hard to score because there is no pace on the ball and you have to actually hit the ball.
‘That’s taking a big risk on that wicket.
‘I feel for all of these club cricketers who have to play on these wet wickets every week on a Saturday.
‘But you have to get on with it and try to grind as many runs out as you can.’