Dan Hewitt believes overseas player Roscoe Thattil holds the key to Hambledon’s success this term.
The Sri Lankan batsman joined the Ridge Meadow outfit for the season and will be in their side for the short trip to Burridge in Southern Electric Premier League division one tomorrow.
The 20-year-old plays first-class cricket for Sri Lanka Air Force Sports Club just outside Colombo in his homeland and has one century and six half-centuries to his name in 16 matches.
With the ball, his off-breaks have also picked up 16 first-class wickets.
But the Hambledon skipper knows Thattil faces a tough baptism in adapting to English conditions on his first visit to these shores, although his maiden half-century of the season last week would suggest he is learning quickly.
Hewitt said: ‘Roscoe looks a brilliant player.
‘He got 60 not out last week in the win over Hartley Wintney and looks like one of the best players I have seen in the league.
‘Initially, he has struggled a bit with the conditions when it is swinging and seaming because he is used to batting at number five in Sri Lanka.
‘By the eighth over in Sri Lanka, the spinners are on at both ends so it’s totally different to what he is used to.
‘But he looks plenty good enough to adapt.
‘And it would make a huge difference to us if he has a big season.’
The Dons are without several first-teamers this week with James Scutt, James Atkinson, Jack Lavous, Cameron Prentice and Ian Turner all ruled out.
New recruits from United Services Reggie and James Marshall are not yet available.
But Paul Vickers, Will Bond, Kyle Shinn come in and a debut is handed to Spencer Le-Clerq, a talented spinning all-rounder.
Hewitt said: ‘We’re missing a few but it’s a good chance for the young lads.
‘When I started playing first-team cricket, I was batting at number 10 and not doing anything.
‘But I am going to get these kids a game, get them involved and learning what first-team cricket is all about. We’ve got to trust them and see what they can do.
‘Ultimately, it’s a good chance to throw these guys in at the deep end and see if they can swim.
‘The regular first-team players have also got to step up and give the youngsters something to emulate.’
Burridge name an unchanged side and Hewitt expects a test.
He said: ‘Burridge look a good side but it’s a tough league.
‘Two sides have got to go down and I’m pretty confident we won’t be one of them but we have got to pull our finger out to make sure it doesn’t happen.’
BURRIDGE: Rick Ankers, Richard Kenway, Shu Chowdhury, Derek Kenway, Scott Mills, Geoff Dods, Paul Ancell, Greg Thew, Jamie Rood, Suji Wickramasinghe, Nick McMurray.
HAMBLEDON: Dan Hewitt, Joe Collings-Wells, Paul Vickers, Rob Atkins, Roscoe Thattil, Will Bond, Nick Scutt, Spencer Le-Clerq, Will Mann, Kyle Shinn, Rupert Hetherington.
n Meanwhile, in division three, Havant II host South Wilts II as Portsmouth & Southsea entertain Bournemouth II.