Edwards set to replace injured Bird

Andre Adams is one of the Hampshire bowlers who needs to be carefully managed this season. Picture: Neil Marshall
Andre Adams is one of the Hampshire bowlers who needs to be carefully managed this season. Picture: Neil Marshall
James Vince. Picture: Sarah Standing (170455-8793)

Vince relishing ‘second chance’

  • Australian ruled out of Hampshire stint
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Fidel Edwards is set to answer the SOS after the curse of the overseas player struck Hampshire again.

Australian bowler Jackson Bird has been ruled out for several weeks with a neck and shoulder injury and is due to return home, which has left the Ageas Bowl outfit without an overseas player.

Fidel will come over as a Kolpak player so we are still looking at overseas replacements.

Dale Benkenstein

It’s certainly not the first time Hampshire have been left high and dry with Shane Warne, Ajantha Mendis, Brett Lee, Shahid Afridi and Marcus North all among those who were scheduled to come to the club in recent years but failed to materialise.

Edwards was already due to play for a spell later in the campaign but the former West Indies fast bowler qualifies as a Kolpak player and is set to agree another short stay to bolster a thin bowling attack.

But even with his expected arrival, that means there is still a vacant berth for an overseas player to join – if Hampshire can find a suitable replacement.

First-team coach Dale Benkenstein said: ‘It’s a shame to lose Jackson.

‘He wasn’t carrying any injuries when we signed him. It’s something that has just flared up.

‘These are things you can’t really control – it’s just unlucky.

‘We’ve got Fidel coming next week hopefully.

‘He was originally coming for the second half of the season but we need that strike bowler.

‘He will have 10 days to get himself ready for Yorkshire.

‘We’ve got to get him up and running quite quickly.

‘He can do five or six weeks and then he has got to go to the Caribbean Premier League.

‘Jackson has got a bulging disc in his neck so it wasn’t just the shoulder and it was something extra that hadn’t been picked up.

‘I think he is going to go home but there is still an option for him to come back later in the season.

‘With the IPL, there aren’t that many options so it’s a bit of a problem. Fidel will come over as a Kolpak player so we are looking at overseas replacements.’

Hampshire have already been knocked back with an approach for highly-rated Australian Nathan Coulter-Nile but Benkenstein knows his bowling attack is worryingly short of depth – especially with Gareth Berg, Andre Adams and Chris Wood all needing to be carefully managed over the course of the season.

Benkenstein said: ‘We have tried a few guys who are playing in the IPL but their wallet is too heavy!

‘There are a few names flying around.

‘Nathan Coulter-Nile is one who said he doesn’t want to play and needs a rest.

‘But those are the types of player we are looking at.

‘We need to have some stock in the bowling department.

‘At some stage, guys will need to be rested but you need some firepower to work with.’

On day one of the Championship clash with Nottinghamshire, Hampshire could certainly have done with some extra firepower as Nottinghamshire closed on 301 for six after being put in by the home side.

Benkenstein said: ‘It’s advantage to them definitely.

‘We would have liked to have bowled them out for under 300.

‘I would have definitely batted if there was a bit of sun around because it is still a very good wicket.

‘But with our attack, I felt the conditions were as good as it gets for them.’