James Vince has been given the nod to lead Hampshire’s t20 campaign.
The England Lions batsman was named vice captain to Jimmy Adams for the new season, which starts with a Championship clash at home to Worcestershire tomorrow.
Now he will lead the side out for the rebranded Natwest T20 Blast as Hampshire start their bid for glory at home to Glamorgan on May 16.
The recently-retired Dimi Mascarenhas assumed command from Adams for the 20-over campaign last season, which ended in defeat at the semi-final stage on finals day.
Both new coach Dale Benkenstein and Will Smith were considered to take over from Adams for the 20-over competition this term.
However, it’s 23-year-old Vince who has been be handed the responsibility – and it’s a task he can’t wait to get started.
‘I’m looking forward to the challenge of captaining the side and it will be a very proud moment to lead the lads out in our first game,’ said Vince.
‘I’m lucky that we have a very talented squad and one that has already had a lot of success in the competition.
‘I’ve played under some very good and successful captains who I’ve learnt a lot from so I will try and follow in their footsteps and hopefully we can have another enjoyable and successful T20 season.’
There will a different feel to Hampshire’s t20 side this season in the absence of both Mascarenhas and Neil McKenzie.
And they may well be lacking that experienced old head in the batting line-up when things go awry.
So it’s no surprise that Giles White asked Benkenstein to lead the t20 challenge, although the former Durham man felt it’s time to trust in the younger blood.
Benkenstein said: ‘Chalks (White) was quite keen for me to play, especially a role in the t20.
‘But it’s over three months.
‘If it was a short block like it has been, it might have been easier to take my coaching hat off and play.
‘Chalks could have come in to coach and I could have concentrated on captaining, playing and then going back to coaching again.
‘But now I will be coaching a four-day game, then maybe even a one-day game and playing in t20 – I don’t think I could do either of the roles well.
‘I finish days now and I am exhausted – probably more exhausted than when I was playing, although it’s in a different way.
‘I look at the squad and there are ambitious guys here to get their careers going and I don’t think there is anything I need to prove.
‘If it was a different set-up with a lot of young guys, I would have said “let me play”.
‘But they don’t need me and I can’t even see me playing if there is an emergency.
‘Even if Michael Carberry and James Vince are picked for England, we have got enough depth to give the other guys a go.’
And it seems only a matter of time before Benkenstein calls time on a fine career.
He said: ‘I would like some clarity because we have left it hanging.
‘People have sent me messages saying “great career” but I haven’t retired yet.
‘I think it’s time. I’m 40 this year and it’s been a good effort.
‘Maybe after a few games when things are running well, I can make an official announcement.’