Hampshire hero Hamza told to keep delivering

Hamza Riazuddin helped Hampshire to victory at Glamorgan   Picture: Neil Marshall
Hamza Riazuddin helped Hampshire to victory at Glamorgan Picture: Neil Marshall
Hampshire's James Vince hits a six during the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston, Birmingham. PPP-170309-212743001

Hampshire start T20 Blast campaign against Glamorgan

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Hamza Riazuddin has been backed to grasp his chance after so nearly turning his back on Hampshire.

The 22-year-old former England under-19 all-rounder found himself at a crossroads in his career last term after making just four appearances in the CB40 competition in the entire season.

That left Riazuddin disillusioned and questioning his future at the Ageas Bowl and even in the sport after seeing his path to the first team blocked.

But with Hampshire opting to go with youth for this campaign, Riazuddin – who made his Championship debut way back in May 2008 – was selected for the season opener against Gloucestershire.

And he then took his chance to shine in only his third Championship outing with a match-winning contribution for the county at Glamorgan, which saw Hampshire secure victory on Sunday.

After taking five wickets for 61 in the first innings, he then guided Hampshire home with the bat with just one ball to spare.

And Jimmy Adams is eager for the man who so nearly called it quits to pick up where he left off in tomorrow’s Championship clash with Leicestershire at the Ageas Bowl.

Skipper Adams said: ‘The ball was in Hamza’s court to a certain extent but we spoke to him at the end of last year and felt he did have a role to play.

‘I think Hamza was doubting himself about which way he wanted to go.

‘I have been in a similar situation myself and I told him he may as well give it a crack because you never want to sit back in 10 or 20 years and start thinking “what if”.

‘I can’t speak for him but I do know that there were times where Hamza wasn’t quite sure where it would end up.

‘He’s spent a lot of the past few years struggling to break into the team.

‘But he’s always a good man to have around and he is one of those guys you can trust with what he’s doing and, maybe, it was just getting a go in the side.

‘He put in the performances earlier on in pre-season to merit that and now he’s justifying it.

‘I’m sure his performance at Glamorgan will have given him a huge confidence boost.

‘We’re very, very pleased with him.’

Riazuddin’s ability certainly marked him out as a potential successor to Dimi Mascarenhas, but there were concerns over his consistency.

But while many were surprised that Riazuddin was preferred to David Griffiths in this season’s curtain-raiser, Adams felt his form in pre-season was worthy of his place.

Adams said: ‘From the end of last year, I think he has surprised everyone and has probably surprised himself – I don’t mean that in a derogatory way at all.

‘He was away for much of the winter and went off to Melbourne and we didn’t see him.

‘But he bowled outstandingly in pre-season and his bowling has not surprised me this season because he has carried that through.

‘He was a bit harsh on himself that he didn’t get us over the line against Gloucestershire, but he did it for us against Glamorgan.

‘If he keeps going as he is, we will be very happy.’