FIDEL EDWARDS will do his best to uphold Hampshire’s illustrious West Indies fast bowling tradition as he prepares for his county debut.
The 33-year-old fast bowler has joined the ranks for a short stint to cover the injury absence of Australian Jackson Bird and is expected to be named in the side for the Championship trip to Yorkshire, which starts tomorrow.
If I can achieve even a small amount of what he achieved for Hampshire, then I will very happy with that.Fidel Edwards
With 55 matches and 165 wickets to his name in Test cricket, Edwards brings plenty of quality and experience to boost the Hampshire attack that has looked short of a strike bowler so far this season.
And the Barbados-born cricketer is keen to follow in the footsteps of the most successful of Hampshire’s West Indies fast bowlers – fellow Barbadian, Malcolm Marshall, who served the county with distinction between 1979 and 1993, taking more than 800 first-class wickets.
Edwards said: ‘Malcolm Marshall is a hero to all West Indies cricketers and fast bowlers.
‘I never got the chance to meet him but it was a sad day for cricket when he died.
‘He was one of the best bowlers ever and I know he had great success for this county.
‘If I can achieve even a small amount of what he achieved for Hampshire, then I will very happy with that.
‘But I have also been told that a lot of West Indies greats played for Hampshire and I’m hoping I can play my part as well.
‘It won’t be easy. It’s a lot cooler than I am used to, but I will do my best.’
It’s a short stay for Edwards, who starts his Caribbean Premier League commitments next month before his scheduled return to Hampshire later in the summer. But he feels he can hit the ground running.
‘I got the call from my agent saying that Hampshire needed me,’ said Edwards.
‘It fits in well with me. I will be here until the second week of June and then I will be in the Caribbean Premier League for five or six weeks and will then come back after that.
‘I’ve never played in county cricket and I’m looking forward to a new experience.
‘I had a few offers when I was younger but it is something I have been wanting to do for a long time.
‘You have to be able to adapt your game to suit different conditions and I have enjoyed playing in England before in Test cricket.
‘I feel fit and ready but it might take a bit of time to get to full sharpness.
‘And there is a difference in playing t20 and four-day cricket with the red ball.
‘But I’m more experienced now but it’s a big challenge and a big opportunity for me.’
First-team coach Dale Benkenstein has warned fans not to expect too much from their new recruit ahead of the trip to Headingley.
He said: ‘I’m not 100-per-cent sure how he will do, to be honest. There is always a bit of a question mark.
‘Our thinking is right to bring him in because we were maybe a bit short in the bowling department, but it’s not ideal because he hasn’t been playing for a while.
‘This is a really good opportunity for him but whether he can do it straight away and make a big impression, I’m not sure.
‘Fidel is a very introverted and quiet guy but he has played at the highest level and is a sharp bowler at his best.
‘Hopefully, he does well for us against a tough side.’