HAMPSHIRE need at least four wins from this season’s remaining County Championship matches to preserve their division one status, according to Sean Ervine.
The Zimbabwean smashed a century in Sunday’s CB40 victory over Leicestershire and believes his side must take that form in to the crunch four-day match against Yorkshire, starting today.
With Hants languishing at the foot of division one and without a Championship victory all summer, Ervine admits survival looks a tall order.
But he feels the visit of fellow strugglers Yorkshire to the Rose Bowl represents a great chance to kick-start Hampshire’s Championship season.
Andrew Gale’s men sit just outside the all-important drop zone, in seventh, and are effectively the team Hants are chasing in their quest for survival.
‘It’s a massive game,’ said the all-rounder. ‘The rest of the Championship games are just huge for us.
‘We need to put in a really good performance against Yorkshire.
‘And if we can win four of the next six or seven games then we’re putting ourselves up there – it’s a big ask but it will give us a chance.’
He added: ‘We’ve been so good in one-day cricket and the one thing that Duncan Fletcher said before he left here was “you guys are a really good one-day unit but we need to see more in the Championship.”
‘So we’ve put a big emphasis on it, but for some reason we always seem to start the Championship season really badly.’
It promises to be a big week for Ervine and his team-mates, with the Yorkshire clash being followed on Sunday by a t20 quarter-final against Durham.
And the 28-year-old feels it’s time that Hampshire’s batsmen stepped up to the plate.
‘We’re definitely leading in to a bit of form but our batters are the key,’ said Ervine.
‘If the batsman can get 350 or more in the first innings it’s a massive plus for us – I think we’ve done that only once or twice the whole season, if that.
‘If we can do that then we’re putting ourselves in a good position and heading in the right direction.
‘If you don’t do that then you’re under real pressure in the third innings.’
Ervine admits that an upturn in his own form wouldn’t do any harm to the Hampshire cause.
‘It’s been massively frustrating. As I bat and bowl, you’ve got to try to do both parts very well and it’s just not been happening,’ he continued. ‘If you can get both going well, then obviously the whole team benefits.’