Hampshire: James Vince hits top gear to win England call-up

James Vince celebrates victory over Nottinghamshire last season. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
James Vince celebrates victory over Nottinghamshire last season. Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
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James Vince is beginning to hit top gear with the bat.

And his recent displays have earned him a call-up to the 13-man England squad for the one-off T20 international against New Zealand at Old Trafford on Tuesday, June 23.

The 24-year-old notched a stunning 99 not out to steer Hampshire to glory in their NatWest T20 Blast clash with Kent at Canterbury on Friday night.

He likened the match-winning knock to his most memorable in the shortest format – the unbeaten 93 he hit against Nottinghamshire in the quarter-finals last summer.

That Trent Bridge innings – along with a brilliant 39 from Sean Ervine – booked Hampshire’s spot at a record-breaking fifth finals day and underlined Vince’s huge talent.

Having endured a slow start to the County Championship campaign and missing out on selection for England’s Royal London One-Day Series against New Zealand, Friday’s display franked a timely return to form for the right-hander.

Sam Northeast is the only English player to have scored more runs in the NatWest T20 Blast than Vince during the current season.

The Hampshire skipper, who has yet to score a twenty20 ton, has racked up 274 runs at an average of 68.50.

He also compiled a superb 76 in the club’s maiden Championship division one success at Sussex last week.

Vince will now lead his troops into back-to-back south group contests.

He will aim to keep his fine form going against Middlesex at Lord’s this evening (6.15pm).

And then be hoping to put Sussex to the sword in the Ageas Bowl derby tomorrow night (7pm).

‘I have started to time the ball better and to be there at the end was a nice feeling,’ said Vince.

‘It was fairly similar to that knock at Trent Bridge really.

‘Slug came in and played a similar knock to the one he did there and kept the momentum going.

‘I started off well and then in the middle didn’t quite time the ball as well as I would have liked.

‘But luckily he was going well at the other end.

‘And then when he got out I took it on to score the boundaries.’

Hampshire ended up reaching their target of 184 with one ball remaining of the rain-affected 18-over scrap.

Aussie Michael Klinger (413), Kent’s Northeast (398), Chris Gayle (328) and former South Africa opener Jacques Rudolph (301) are the only batsmen to have outscored Vince in this season’s NatWest T20 Blast so far.

Ervine, meanwhile, has weighed in with some crucial knocks down the order – on his way to 169 runs at a strike-rate of 167.32.

The all-rounder knows how important the next two games are to Hampshire’s twenty20 ambitions.

Victory over Kent saw Vince’s men rise to top spot.

But since then they have been overhauled by Gloucestershire, with five teams all now locked on eight points at the summit.

‘It’s ridiculous how tight this group is,’ said Ervine.

‘There’s plenty to play for, that’s for sure, and the next two games are massive for us.

‘Any sort of win, you try to take that momentum in to the next game.

‘But, there are some strong teams in this group.’

Kyle Abbott, who starred alongside Vince & Co at the Ageas Bowl last term, is in the Middlesex squad for tonight’s clash at Lord’s.

However, the hosts are without Eoin Morgan and Steven Finn who are on England duty.