JOE GATTING has been tipped to force his way back into the Hampshire reckoning.
The former Sussex man joined up at the Ageas Bowl for the 2014 campaign but after struggling for runs in the early part of the season, his first first-team opportunities become limited as the season progressed and his confidence appeared to be affected.
From what I’ve seen of him, I would expect him to get back in the Hampshire set-up at some pointRick Ankers
The 27-year-old has not featured in the Championship side since July of last year but has agreed to play at Southern Electric Premier League side Burridge when available.
Gatting will be looking for a bigger score than the 24 and 12 he had made in his first two innings as Burridge have started the season with two defeats.
But although he has rarely been used as a seam bowler in the first-class game, he turned in a decent bowling display in last week’s defeat to Havant as he grabbed two wickets.
Skipper Rick Ankers has seen enough from his new charge to believe he is good enough to return to the county ranks.
And Ankers has been most impressed by Gatting’s attitude to muck in with the rest of the players ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Alton.
Ankers said: ‘Joe Gatting is a great bloke and giving it everything for us, which is really good to see.
‘You can see he is a quality player and I think he will score a lot of runs for us.
‘He bowls really well but the thing I like most about him is that he tries his absolute hardest in every game.
‘He’s just desperate to do well and play his part for the team.
‘When I was playing cricket in Essex and up north, you sometimes got county players coming to clubs and not being that bothered about it.
‘Maybe they think it is a bit beneath them but that’s certainly not the case with Gatt.
‘Out of all the pros I have played with, Joe has shown the best attitude to coming in, working hard and being one of the boys.
‘And from what I’ve seen of him, I would expect him to get back in the Hampshire set-up at some point.’
And Gatting is not the only player on the Botley Road side’s books with county aspirations with returning overseas all-rounder, Geoff Dods, showing some good early form.
Ankers said: ‘Geoff had an unbelievable game last week.
‘He got 43 not out and then bowled incredibly well.
‘He is a proper cricketer.
‘It’s his third season with us and he finished sixth in the bowling averages last year.
‘I think he has got loads of runs and wickets in him.
‘He is Cape Town’s first-team captain but he likes it here and we like him. We know what we are getting with him and he wants to make a career out of cricket.
‘He is hoping to get a few run-outs for counties this summer.’
While Burridge have gone down to successive defeats and face an unbeaten side tomorrow, Ankers remains confident in his side.
He said: ‘I think we have got some really good players and a strong side.
‘But we need to back that up with results.
‘I’m not worried and we got off to a slow start last year but we could easily have won both of our first two games.
‘We need to make the most of our chances.’