RILEE ROSSOUW has revealed he’s been highly impressed with the quality of players in the Hampshire dressing room.
The South African joined the Ageas Bowl side in January on a three-year contract after signing a Kolpak deal that ruled him out of representing his country anymore.
The guys look in good nick – I’m really looking forward to the start of the seasonRilee Rossouw
He joins fellow countryman Kyle Abbott, who also signed a Kolpak agreement and inked a four-year deal with the county.
Hampshire endured a dismal time last season.
They finished second bottom in the County Championship division one but avoided relegation due to Durham being demoted because of financial problems.
Rossouw, who has registered three one-day international centuries, arrives at Hampshire having never played in England before.
The 27-year-old has rubbed shoulders with the world’s best, playing with the likes of Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn and against Australia skipper Steve Smith.
And Rossouw has insisted there is class all around the Ageas Bowl.
He said: ‘The guys look in good nick – I’m really looking forward to the start of the season.
‘What has distinctly stuck out for me is the line and length the bowlers are bowling at the moment.
‘Also, how mentally strong they are.
‘A lot of people when they get to 40 feel they’re in and chuck their wicket away.
‘You can definitely learn something from the senior campaigners.
‘The mentality of what they’re about has been really impressive.
‘There’s a great bunch of guys here in the squad and the coaching staff.
‘If I need any support there’s a lot of guys who I can chat to.
‘I was surprised by how the lads can control the ball so well in tough conditions for the bowlers.’
Giles White has assembled a side with a blend of experienced veterans like Sean Ervine and up-and-coming talents such as Mason Crane.
It means that places are up for grabs.
And Rossouw knows that his reputation does not warrant him a place in the team each week and he has to get runs under his belt.
‘You can see they are looking up to the guys and want to out-perform them,’ he added.
‘It’s good to have a bit of competition at the club and they are really trying to put their foot forward.
‘I’m glad there is competition around – if you’re not fighting for your spot then I don’t know what you’re doing in the team.
‘I like facing pace bowlers. Medium to slow bowlers is something I really need to work on.
‘And I have been working on it so hopefully things pan out this summer.
‘There will always be some type of pressure but I feel like I’m at home. I’m very relaxed and hopefully the runs will come.’