Giles White defended Hampshire’s use of Kolpak players and insisted: They don’t obstruct the progress of our young players.
The Royals are preparing for tomorrow’s CB40 clash against Warwickshire Bears and are keen to kick-start their campaign with a first victory.
Homegrown youngsters Chris Wood and Benny Howell are both in the frame for their first outings of the season in the 40-over clash.
Hampshire’s recruitment of two more Kolpak players in South African pair Johann Myburgh and Friedel de Wet raised concerns in some quarters, with both Sean Ervine and Neil McKenzie already in the side under the ruling which allows non-English qualified players to play county cricket.
But the Royals manager cannot be accused of overlooking the academy prospects, having shown huge faith in the club’s young talent since taking charge.
And he believes the addition of overseas players who have Test match experience can only benefit the players who come through the ranks.
White said: ‘I’d look at Kolpak players as players who can add to a young player’s development.
‘But it’s all about getting the right balance.
‘We’ve got a couple of players in who are quality performers.
‘Their record speaks for itself. They have the kind of character we are looking for in the dressing room and they add to a young player’s development.
‘Any player of a certain age could block a young player’s progress but we are very aware of our young group.
‘I think it would be unfair to say that we have not played our young players in the past and that will not be the case now.’
Wood, James Vince, Danny Briggs, Hamza Riazuddin, Liam Dawson and Michael Bates all played significant roles in last season’s Friends Provident t20 success, having all graduated through the ranks into the first team in recent years.
Tim Ravenscroft and Jamie Miller are just two more of the talented youngsters who are knocking on the door.
But White is also keen not to heap too much pressure on his young guns and is determined to choose the right time to blood them.
He said: ‘We are very aware of making sure that they play at the right time – so that’s not too early and not too late, either.
‘It’s down to the management to get it right.
‘So it’s part of my job, the coaching staff and the captain to get that timing right.’
White’s hand may yet be forced as the season progresses with a worrying injury list continuing to cause problems.
Hampshire suffered last term with a host of injuries and this season has not started too brightly, with both Simon Jones and Nic Pothas picking up muscle problems in the first two fixtures.
White said: ‘It happens, unfortunately.
‘That’s the challenge of county cricket.
‘It happened to us last year with injuries and unavailability of overseas players.
‘We’ve got to take it as it comes but at least we’ve been through it before.
‘We’ve recruited quality players to cater for this and de Wet has come in to cover for a couple of injuries.
‘Myburgh has been brought in because Michael Carberry is out and Michael Lumb is away with the IPL.
‘These are the reasons we’ve signed these players.’