Bransgrove declares on Hampshire recruitment

Rod Bransgrove and Sam Northeast. Picture:

Rod Bransgrove welcomed Sam Northeast to the Ageas Bowl and then declared on Hampshire’s recruitment for the 2018 summer.

With the former Kent skipper now on board, the chairman reckons the county have the firepower to challenge for honours in all formats.

If something extraordinary was to happen, we wouldn’t want to exclude those extraordinary opportunities. But we run to appropriate budgets

Rod Bransgrove

But despite Hampshire working to a strict budget, Bransgrove has not ruled out an ‘extroardinary’ signing – should the opportunity arise.

He said: ‘I don’t think there will be any more recruits this season, largely on a budgeting basis.

‘If something extraordinary was to happen, we wouldn’t want to exclude those extraordinary opportunities.

‘But we run to appropriate budgets these days and work off fairly strict plans.

‘I’m very happy with the squad as it is and I think Giles is as well. I think we have the right range of players and the right structure in our squad.

‘If we keep everyone fit and have a predictable loss of players to England, I believe we’re very much in the frame to make a challenge this season.’

Bransgrove did admit securing the signature of Northeast was crucial to those plans as Hampshire hunt a first Championship crown since 1973.

He is a marquee signing and with Australian George Bailey not returning and James Vince eyeing a permanent Test place with England, reinforcements were needed.

Bransgrove added: ‘This is a huge signing. Sam is right in our sweetspot and exactly the kind of player we were looking for to supplement the squad.

‘He has proved his credentials in all forms or cricket and he will fit seamlessly into our squad immediately.

‘The team is in a little bit of transition. We have lost Michael Carberry and Will Smith, while Vince is in the England set-up at the minute.

‘So we did need to have a reliable top-order batsman. We knew the kind of player we wanted. We were not going to just sign someone for the sake of it.

‘There were probably half a dozen people we would have been interested in if they became available.

‘Sam was very much one of those and we are very, very pleased to have won the race for his signature.’

Bransgrove confirmed Bailey would not be returning to the Ageas Bowl this summer.

‘George is settling down with his wife and rapidly-increasing family,’ he said.

‘We thank him for his efforts with the club in the past and wish him all the very best for the future.

‘He has been a fantastic person to have around here.

‘We have not necessarily ruled out signing another overseas player but, as always, only if a worldie comes up.

‘There are a lot of players around but they don’t all fit the credentials of a high-profile and very productive overseas player.

‘We will keep an eye out but there are no plans at present.’

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