Macca confident he can turn Championship tide

Neil McKenzie in County Championship action last summer. Picture: Neil Marshall
Neil McKenzie in County Championship action last summer. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Neil McKenzie is eager to make up for lost time as Hampshire dig out their whites again tomorrow.

The former South Africa Test batsman was originally signed up to play only Friends Life t20 cricket at the Ageas Bowl but has agreed to cover for the injured Michael Carberry.

That will see McKenzie included in tomorrow’s four-day clash with Yorkshire – the side he and Carberry racked up their extraordinary 523-run stand against last season for the ninth highest partnership in first-class cricket history.

McKenzie, who hit 237 in the fixture last August, offered no excuses in explaining why he has not enjoyed the same kind of form since he arrived back at Hampshire this term.

But despite his struggles in t20, he is confident he can still deliver the goods as Giles White’s men push on in their quest for division two promotion in the second half of the campaign.

McKenzie – the only man to pass 1,000 Championship runs for the club last summer – said: ‘I haven’t obviously made an impact yet but it’s a team game and hopefully, down the line, I will get an opportunity to cash in.

‘There are no excuses but it’s not easy coming straight in to play t20.

‘What happens is you play a rubbish shot – out, then you get a bit unlucky – out, chase a wide one – out or you get run out.

‘I’ve probably had only four of five knocks. I’ve had a couple of small not outs and then haven’t batted for a couple of weeks. We’ve had games called off because of the weather and it’s just the way things have gone.

‘In t20, you need a bit of luck every now and then. And you need some game time. But I think I’m playing against Yorkshire – unless Chalks (White) tells me something else!’

In six innings in this year’s t20, the 36-year-old has a top score of just 20 not out.

But three centuries and three half-centuries last year would suggest the experienced South African is better suited to the patience and purer form of Championship cricket.

And while he is closer to the end of his career than the beginning, McKenzie still believes he has plenty to offer as he considers his options for next season.

He said: ‘I always back myself and go one year at a time. I’m not looking for security but I will see if a county want me, I want them and it’s a good fit. We will play it that way.

‘I’m looking to play next year but it just depends on a few issues.

‘I only sign one-year contracts because my family is the first focus.

‘I’m 37 at the end of the year and – although in England they don’t mind the older guys producing the goods – back home and in Australia, if you are 35 and over, you’ve got to be making some big runs because they are looking to play a lot of the youngsters.’

Meanwhile, Hampshire’s t20 quarter-final against Notts at Trent Bridge will be played on Wednesday, July 25 and will start at 7.10pm.