Edwards back to fire Hampshire

Fidel Edwards. Picture: Neil Marshall

Fidel Edwards. Picture: Neil Marshall

Luke Wright

Middlesex test at Lord’s for Sussex Sharks in Royal London Cup

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Hampshire will be hoping the Fidel Edwards factor can provide the spark to spur them to a vital Championship victory.

The West Indies fast bowler plays his first Championship game since his return to the club in a crucial clash with Warwickshire, which starts today.

Edwards played a key role in the success at Hove back in June and Hampshire’s hopes of avoiding the drop will be left hanging by a thread if they fail to secure a first home success of the season.

But even though they are bottom of the table, it is still possible to climb out of trouble with five games left.

First-team coach Dale Benkenstein said: ‘It’s the business end of the season.

‘For us to stay up in division one of the Championship is huge but that’s where we want to be.

‘It’s been a really tough season and we’ve been very up and down and inconsistent.

‘But we’re hanging in and we’re still there.

‘I feel like the team are still together and we’ve got a fight on our hands against Warwickshire who are a fantastic outfit.

‘Fidel coming back into the group has given everyone a lift so hopefully he can make an impact on the game for us.’

While the batting still remains a major concern, at least Hampshire have shown some encouraging signs in limited overs cricket.

Just two batsmen have made centuries in the four-day format so far this season with Sean Ervine and Adam Wheater the only men to reach three figures.

But Liam Dawson and Will Smith have both shown they are in form in the win over the same opponents in the Royal London One-Day Cup earlier this week.

And Dawson feels that his batting is back in the groove again.

He said: ‘I’ve been playing pretty well all year but I just haven’t got runs.

‘I was hitting the ball as well as I’ve hit it in my whole career.

‘Hopefully, I have come out of the end of that.

‘It was a bit of a fresh start when I went on loan at Essex, I suppose.

‘I got some runs there and I’ve got a few since I’ve been back here.

‘I felt I was playing well all year but now it is starting to click.’

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