Abbott aiming for title at Hampshire this year

KYLE ABBOTT is targeting silverware at the Ageas Bowl.

Friday, 14th April 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:41 pm
Kyle Abbott. Picture: Sarah Standing

And the South African revealed it was an easy decision to return to Hampshire.

Abbott rejoined the Ageas Bowl side in January on a three-year contract.

He signed a Kolpak deal, along with fellow countryman Rilee Rossouw, that ruled him out of representing his country any more.

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He spent a year at Hampshire in 2014.

James Vince & Co kicked off their County Championship division one season in fine style with a win at Yorkshire last week.

They clawed victory from the jaws of defeat as they chased down 320 with four wickets in hand.

Abbott produced an inspiring performance with the ball in Yorkshire’s second innings, registering figures of 7-41.

They welcome Middlesex to the Ageas Bowl today looking to continue their strong form (11am).

Hampshire were in division two during the ex-South African international’s first spell at the club.

And Abbott is relishing the chance of challenging for the County Championship’s top trophy.

‘There’s no reason why this group can’t click,’ he said.

‘The sky is the limit.

‘I would love to win division one.

‘Around the dressing room, that’s the general feeling from the guys.

‘It’s going to be very difficult to win every competition.

‘No doubt, we’ll give it a good crack but there’s a real drive to go at division one.

‘If it’s in the next couple of years, that would be great.

‘We’ve got some good, experienced heads in our squad so hopefully we can do well this season.

‘The step-up is exciting. I don’t know any different from playing in division two, even after a spell at Worcestershire last year.

‘It’ll be nice to see the difference in the league. That’s where you want to be playing your cricket as that’s where you’re going to improve.’

Abbott would have likely been in high demand given his impressive resume.

The fast bowler has taken three career international five-wicket hauls and was a regular in the Indian Premier League.

But he revealed Hampshire have always been close to his heart.

He added: ‘Making a decision to a long-term commitment was quite easy.

‘I felt very comfortable with the guys from ball one.

‘That showed in the three years I was absent from the club because I kept in contact with a lot of the guys.

‘I think I’ve matured quite a bit since last being here.

‘I’ve grown up a lot as a bowler. ‘Hopefully I can bring that experience of international cricket and it’ll rub off on a few of the guys.’