Simon Katich is desperate to keep his – and Hampshire’s – momentum as they prepare for a crunch Friends Life t20 double-header.
However, the Royals’ hopes of t20 glory were yesterday dealt a major blow when explosive all-rounder Shahid Afridi admitted he may not return to the club at all.
The Pakistan star’s arrival has already been held up by a visa problem.
But now the all-rounder has told Pakistan media: ‘I’m likely to miss the entire season. A few issues may force me to opt out.’
Katich admitted the Hampshire players are in the dark over the hold up.
‘No one is really sure what is happening,’ said the ex-Australia Test batsman.
‘But this week we were all talking about the possibility of when it might happen.
‘Obviously the job he did last year and the type of player he is – with bat and ball – he would play a huge role for us.’
Sadly, the chances of Katich lining up alongside the talismanic Pakistan ace appear to be fading.
The Aussie left-hander remains focused on the job at hand, though.
He made his first appearance in this summer’s competition during Wednesday’s four-wicket victory over Middlesex Panthers.
Katich helped the Royals to a second successive win, weighing in with a crucial 40 as the visitors chased their target at Richmond.
The result pushed Hampshire up to third in the south group table at the halfway point of the round-robin phase.
But with a tough trip to face Essex Eagles tonight followed by a clash against Surrey Lions at the Ageas Bowl tomorrow, Katich admits it is a critical point in their campaign.
He said: ‘Momentum is everything. If you start stringing some wins together against good teams you’re in with a chance.
‘It’s about staying on a roll and keeping that momentum going.
‘We have to play back-to-back games now, which will obviously test us and be a good challenge.’
Having been left out of the side for the opening four t20 matches of the season, an injury to Michael Carberry gave Katich his chance.
And the left-hander showed his value, sharing a 69-run partnership with Sean Ervine to send Hampshire on their way to victory.
He said: ‘I’ve been preparing to play just in case and it’s great to get out there and contribute.
‘The bottom line is we won. If I get another game then great, if not, I’ll just keep training hard.
‘I’m over here to play cricket and I’m enjoying it. I just want to help us win some games, whether it’s four-day cricket, CB40s or t20.’
He added: ‘I understood the reasons (behind his omission) and had no dramas with that – I was just told to be ready to go if required.
‘So that’s what I’ve done, I’ve trained hard and done a bit of extra work fitness-wise.
‘I can’t complain. At my age it’s probably not a bad thing to have a week or two off!
‘I certainly was itching to play and I’m glad that I made the most of it.’