Giles White explained his decision to axe James Vince from the Hampshire side as he insisted: He can come back stronger.
The Hampshire batsman was left out of the travelling party for the Championship trip to Kent with the club suggesting he had been ‘rested’ when the squad was announced.
But the reality is that Vince – who is averaging just over 22 this season and has yet to hit a half-century in Championship cricket in 11 attempts this term – has not been in a rich vein of form.
Meanwhile, his replacement, Bilal Shafayat, has been a run machine in the seconds.
While the Hampshire manager insisted the decision was down to Shafayat’s strengths, rather than Vince’s weaknesses, it is a blow to the England Lions man.
And he joined Chris Wood in being ousted from the side that beat Glamorgan last time out.
White explained: ‘It’s a form call. Bilal has put a lot of pressure on with the amount of runs he has scored in the seconds.
‘It’s a chance for him (Vince) to go away and get some runs and come back into the side later in the season.
‘He’s a quality player and a good performer for us.
‘He will be back before too long and will be better for it.
‘Bilal has done everything he can. He scored 90-odd when he came into the team before and he’s been prolific in the seconds so he deserves his chance.
‘It’s difficult to ignore him. For batsmen, their currency is runs.’
The decision to drop Vince was not the only change to the side with Wood being replaced by Dimi Mascarenhas for his first Championship game of the campaign.
While Michael Carberry was restored to the top of the order, with Liam Dawson dropping down.
White said: ‘Woody has bowled well.
‘It’s not a reflection on how he’s doing but more of a reflection on what we have in terms of resources at the moment.
‘Dimi is back, he’s a quality player and he gives us some experience.
‘We’ve changed it around slightly. Liam has moved into the middle order because of his workload with the bowling, so Michael is an obvious choice to go up the top with Jimmy. He’s done it well in the past.
‘They form a very good partnership so we feel that’s the right way moving forward, with Bilal slotting in at number three.’
White, who was left frustrated by another rain-affected day as Hampshire closed on 50 for three after just 15 overs of play, added: ‘We were going to bowl ourselves and it’s an advantage to win the toss on these sorts of pitches.
‘Now we’ve got to battle hard to get a decent score.
‘We’re not 100-per-cent sure on what that is on this pitch but we will battle away.
‘It’s more frustration for everyone. It’s a beautiful ground when the sun is out but unfortunately the rain has come back again.
‘It’s been another stop-start day.’