Nic Pothas has hit back at suggestions his Hampshire days are numbered.
The 37-year-old wicketkeeper, with more than 11,000 first-class runs to his name, saw his season ended in July last summer after an ongoing knee problem required surgery.
But while young understudy Michael Bates came in and impressed behind the stumps, Rose Bowl stalwart Pothas is not yet ready to hand over his gloves and is raring to go for the new campaign, which starts in just under six weeks.
Pothas said: ‘A few journalists said it might be the end of my career – they were wrong. They forgot that I’m a robot!
‘I hope I’ve got a good few years left in me yet. As long as I’m enjoying it, that’s the main thing. So I’m looking at retiring in maybe 2018 or 2019!
‘Some guys get to a point where their eyesight is the main problem. Touch wood, that isn’t a problem.
‘There’s a new era starting at Hampshire Cricket so why wouldn’t I want to be a part of it?
‘I just want to stay fit and keep playing for as long as I can.’
It’s a mark of Pothas’ loyal service that he has been granted a benefit year at the Rose Bowl, having joined the club in 2002.
But while the South African-born star’s campaign ended prematurely last term, Pothas has been boosted by a speedy recovery.
He said: ‘The injury has come along really well. We’re way ahead of schedule so I’m really happy with that.
‘It was just wear and tear. They went in at the side, cleaned out the cartilage and smoothed the bone out.
‘It was probably down to doing 600 squats per day for 20 years and training. It was going to catch up with me at some stage.
‘But I did a fitness test and it’s pulled up really well.’
Hampshire will head back to the Caribbean for a pre-season training camp next month, with Pothas expecting to play a full part.
And he is hopeful it will see the club make a fast start to the new campaign, which kicks off against Durham on April 8.
‘It’s important to put in the work so we hit the ground running against Durham on the first day,’ he said.
Pothas has plenty on his plate for the new season – in more ways that one – with his benefit year getting into full swing.
He said: ‘It’s a great year to have my benefit year. I’m lucky in that respect – people have supported me throughout my Hampshire career and there are some good events.
‘There’s a lot of eating and drinking going on so I’ll have to steer clear of some of that to play some cricket!
‘I’ve deliberately appointed Shaun Udal as my chairman because he’s the best eater and drinker in the world.’
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