White: Dropping Kat for t20 was a tough call

Simon Katich. Picture: Neil Marshall
Simon Katich. Picture: Neil Marshall
Jonny Bairstow, right, thanks skipper Eoin Morgan. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Giles White has revealed Simon Katich would have been left out for Hampshire’s Friends Life t20 trip to Sussex – if the weather had not intervened.

The curtain-raiser to the Royals’ t20 campaign was abandoned without a ball being bowled last night as both sides were left frustrated by the rain once again in this sodden season.

But the Hampshire manager was honest enough to name his side even though the toss never took place.

And Australian batsman Katich would have joined Liam Dawson and Chris Wood on the sidelines to accommodate the returning Neil McKenzie and the big-hitting overseas all-rounder Glenn Maxwell.

While the Royals are expected to go with the same line-up for Monday’s home clash with Middlesex, White has told his selected players only good performances will keep them in the side.

He said: ‘The guys who would have missed out were Katich, Dawson and Wood.

‘It’s a tough decision because Simon is obviously a quality player.

‘But McKenzie has been our outstanding player over the past two years and has come in and Maxwell and Sean Ervine are all-rounders.

‘Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams have been outstanding in one-day cricket and James Vince has been particularly good in this format.

‘So it’s very difficult to leave someone like Simon Katich out.

‘Woody and Dawson would have missed out and that was a close call, too.’

While the Royals had a settled side that could be predicted on most occasions last season, this year there is genuine competition for places.

And White is keen to see those left out fight their way back into the plans.

He said: ‘We will be flexible and it will be up to the guys to perform.

‘If things don’t click, then we will change it because we’ve got the squad to do that.

‘We won games last year and kept the same side most of the time.

‘Shahid Afridi was in and out a little bit because he missed a few games but outside of that, we were a settled side.

‘But if you win games and people stay fit, you tend to stick with that.

‘We will have a look at the wicket but we are likely to go with that team again against Middlesex.’

White also hinted Afridi is still on course to make his return to the ranks for the trip to Surrey next Wednesday – as long as he returns from international duty with Pakistan in time.

The Hampshire manager said: ‘He will miss the first couple of games and will then be over as soon as the series against Sri Lanka finishes.

‘We will wait for him to arrive but he will obviously bring a lot when he does.’

White added: ‘It was another night of frustration for everyone and the boys just want to play.

‘We will hope to get things going on Monday at the Ageas Bowl against Middlesex.’