Hampshire bowlers backed to fill void left by Ali

Kabir Ali has moved on to Lancashire    Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
Kabir Ali has moved on to Lancashire Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
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Jimmy Adams has admitted Hampshire are unlikely to bring in a new recruit to replace Kabir Ali.

The pace bowler, who made one Test appearance for England, left the Ageas Bowl for Lancashire recently after an injury-hit spell on the south coast.

While he exited in a blaze of glory, bowling a superb final over to lead Hampshire to CB40 success at Lord’s on the last day of the season, his stay was a largely-frustrating one where he failed to recapture the form that once caught the eye of the national selectors.

He wasn’t helped by the serious knee injury he sustained in his first season and the subsequent long road back to fitness.

But while Ali was offered a new one-year deal at Hampshire after his contract expired, he opted for a fresh challenge and a longer two-year contract with Lancashire.

That appears to leave the Royals squad thin on the ground in the bowling department.

But Hampshire skipper Adams is confident the loss can be absorbed.

He explained: ‘It’s a shame to lose him (Ali) but it gives an opportunity to someone else.

‘I’ve spoken to Giles White about it. If we feel there is the right person out there to try to sign, then we would look into it.

‘But there aren’t too many out there. The guys who were talked about have already made some moves.

‘So it’s probably quite likely that we won’t fill that spot.

‘But I feel confident that we’ve already got guys at the club who can do better.’

England spinner Danny Briggs was often overlooked for four-day cricket last season with so many of the prepared pitches better suited to seam bowling.

Hamza Riazuddin and David Griffiths would also both be vying for a place alongside the established pair of James Tomlinson and David Balcombe.

Adams said: ‘We need people to be pushing each other harder because we know we have got some big improvements to make in four-day cricket.

‘I also spoke to Tommo (Tomlinson) about it and there are a lot of guys who didn’t bowl as much as they would have liked last season.

‘We had selection headaches in most games. A few guys probably felt they didn’t get as much of a crack as they would have liked.

‘But then you throw that back to them and if they want that crack, they have to show us they are better than the person who is in there.’

Adams has no hard feelings that Ali opted to move north.

He said: ‘We offered him a contract but I don’t know the full ins and outs.

‘We would have liked him to have stayed but he obviously had a decent offer from Lancashire with more longevity.

‘Kabby had some bad luck for us. He had that bad knee injury in that first year after a great start for us.

‘But since then, he found it hard to get back to where he was before in terms of fitness and playing time.

‘It probably didn’t finish for him as he would have liked, bar the CB40 competition.

‘It was a nice way to go out at Lord’s, though.

‘I spoke to him the other day and everything was fine.

‘It’s a fresh challenge for him and I hope it goes well.’