Giles White has admitted that Hampshire’s young players might benefit from a second year in Championship division two as their promotion hopes suffered a major blow.
Essex dominated day two of the Championship clash at the Ageas Bowl.
They lead by 168 runs with eight wickets in hand going into day three as Hampshire’s victory hopes dwindled.
After their fabulous victory in the Friends Life t20 and with a CB40 final at Lord’s to look forward to on September 15 following the recent demolition of Sussex, Hampshire do not look anywhere near as potent in four-day cricket.
And while the Hampshire manager maintains his desire to lead the club back to the top flight at the first attempt, he conceded it might not be the end of the world if they don’t quite make it this year.
White said: ‘It would still be a successful campaign if we don’t go up – very much so.
‘At the start of the season, our goals were to qualify from the group stages and compete with the best teams in the country in one-day cricket – we’ve done that.
‘And the goal was to develop as a four-day side.
‘If that meant promotion, then great but if not, we’ve got some young players who are learning their four-day game.
‘Maybe they are a little more advanced in one-day cricket, as results would show.
‘Four-day cricket takes time for players to develop.
‘Who knows if it would do us good to not go up?
You always want to get promoted and achieve whatever you can in any particular year.
‘Looking in a holistic way, you may say that another year developing the players so that when we do go up, we can compete with the best sides in division one, may not be the worst thing.
‘But right now, we are desperately keen to be promoted to be in division one next year.’
While the prospects of Championship promotion appear to be drifting away, White revealed that both Dimi Mascarenhas (injury) and Danny Briggs (England duty) would be missing from the CB40 showpiece against Warwickshire.
But he has been boosted by the news that Neil McKenzie will return from South Africa to play against Warwickshire.
White said: ‘Dimi won’t play now until the Champions League but McKenzie is back for the final.
‘It was always going to be the case that if we got through to the final, we would get Neil back.’
White also confirmed that discussions are ongoing in his attempts to recruit Shahid Afridi and Glenn Maxwell for the club’s t20 Champions League campaign in South Africa next month.
He said: ‘We’re awaiting confirmation on both of them and until we get that, we can’t really comment.’