Ervine aims to set prime example

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Sean Ervine has targeted a personal best as he aims to set an example for Hampshire’s young guns.

The all-rounder has emerged as a senior player at the Ageas Bowl following the departure of old heads such as Dominic Cork, Nic Pothas, Michael Lumb and Simon Jones.

He will play a major role with bat and ball as the club begin their bid for County Championship division two glory with the visit of Gloucestershire today.

And while he is not expecting to be cornered for advice by the club’s emerging talents, the Zimbabwean is keen to show them the way on the field as the county look for a swift return to the top tier.

A tally of 1,000 runs and 40 wickets would be a daunting challenge for any all-rounder on the county circuit. Ervine has yet to accumulate a four-figure total with the willow, coming 24 runs short in 2010.

And he has only once reached the bowling milestone during his seven seasons at the club – bagging a best of 42 in 2005.

Doubling up will therefore represent a huge challenge for the ex-Zimbabwe international this summer.

But it is a goal he is determined to chase, with the likes of budding all-rounders Chris Wood and Hamza Riazuddin looking on.

‘1,000 runs and 40 wickets in the Championship is my goal,’ said the 29-year-old, who is set to bat at six in the clash with Gloucestershire.

‘Every batsman would love to get 1,000 runs. And if I can take 40 wickets as well, I know I’ve contributed enough to the team and done my job.

‘You have to set your standards quite high.’

Ervine made his Hampshire debut back in 2005 aged 22.

Seven years on, he is now seen as a senior pro.

And while he insists he will remain focused on his own job in the Hampshire team, Ervine is looking forward to the extra responsibility.

‘I think there’s a small part for me to play there,’ he said.

‘But at the moment I’ve just got to do my job.

‘If I contribute well, maybe the youngsters can learn from that and follow suit.

‘My role has changed a little bit now – being a senior player.

‘But I see it as, if I do my own job, hopefully the other guys will follow.’

New skipper Jimmy Adams told The News yesterday that – despite the many departures during the close season – the overriding goal remains promotion from division two of the Championship.

Ervine echoes his captain’s ambition but remain realistic, insisting it will not be a disaster if the young squad remain in the second tier.

He said: ‘Promotion would be great but I don’t think it’s key.

‘It is top of the list but if it doesn’t happen I don’t think we’ll be too upset. We’ve got a young squad and are probably not expected to go up straight away. At the moment we have to take one step at a time.

‘Hopefully we can win at the start, which we haven’t done over the past few years.

‘And that will set us up for the rest of the campaign.’