Smith sets standard

Will Smith reckons the Hampshire squad has the quality to compete in all forms of the game this season. Picture: Robin Jones

Will Smith reckons the Hampshire squad has the quality to compete in all forms of the game this season. Picture: Robin Jones

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Will Smith has told his new Hampshire team-mates: Don’t settle for promotion, we want to win the league.

The new batsman arrived from Durham over the close season and has plenty of pedigree in the four-day game, having played a key role for his former county in their extensive success in recent years, captaining the side to the 2009 title.

But the 31-year-old right-hander has made it clear he has not ended his quest for silverware by joining Hampshire.

Smith said: ‘I think we should be aiming to win the league – not just looking at promotion.

‘I honestly believe we’ve got a squad that’s well capable of doing it.

‘In terms of ability, talent and skill level, it’s one of the better squads I have been involved with, including squads that have won the Championship.

‘It’s the most excited I have been about the start of a county season.

‘When you start a season, you don’t know if you will win anything but I have a good feeling we will do well this year in all forms but particularly in the four-day game.

‘It’s just the mentality we need to get right.

‘They have had so much one-day success, it perhaps hasn’t lent itself to being successful in four-day cricket at the same time.

‘If we can somehow keep the one-day performances at the same level but improve the mentality and determination in the four-day game, that’s what we are aiming to do.’

Smith admits the four-day game can be a grind but has backed Hampshire to find the necessary mental toughness this season.

He said: ‘Four-day cricket requires a lot of mental energy and at times, lesser people might drop off and wilt.

‘We’ve got players who have played international cricket, guys who have scored a lot of runs and guys who have taken a lot of wickets.

‘It’s just about putting it all together. We definitely have the squad that’s capable.

‘But you need that determination to do it in every session of a four-day game in 16 games. It’s not easy to do that.’

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