McKenzie may strike Hampshire deal

Neil McKenzie will hope to fire Hampshire to t20 glory. Picture: Neil Marshall
Neil McKenzie will hope to fire Hampshire to t20 glory. Picture: Neil Marshall
Gareth Berg bowling in Hampshire's win against Surrey. Picture: Neil Marshall

Crane and Rossouw fire as Hampshire maintain strong start

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HAMPSHIRE ace Neil McKenzie hinted he will return to the Ageas Bowl next season as he insisted: I’ve no plans to retire just yet.

The diminutive batsman has been a key figure for manager Giles White again this term.

He played a vital match-winning knock in the quarter-final victory over Nottinghamshire to seal Hampshire’s place at Friends Life t20 finals day this weekend.

And the 36-year-old has revealed he has started discussions over returning in 2013.

He is keen for at least two more years of playing at the top level before returning to his native South Africa.

McKenzie said: ‘We tend to plan things at the last minute with the family.

‘But we are having chats at the moment and there is a big possibility I will have an option next year.

‘I think we will get through the season and then see where we are.’

With Hampshire still vying for glory on three fronts, McKenzie believes it has influenced his decision to extend his career as he enjoys the sharp end of the season.

He said: ‘I’m really enjoying my cricket and I’m sure it helps when you are competing for trophies.

‘Back home, we compete in the one-day stuff and the four-day stuff has been a bit more scarce.

‘There are times when it’s like that when you question where you are going and what your plans are.

‘But as soon as you start winning or doing well in all formats, all of a sudden you can go on for a couple more years.

‘As long as you are winning and competing, I would be interested in keeping going.

‘So hopefully I’ve got another two years in me.’

A move into coaching is of interest to McKenzie at the right time.

He said: ‘It will all depend on the body and how I feel mentally.

‘I’ve thought about a bit of coaching.

‘I would really enjoy doing some batting stuff on the technical side.

‘I think I could add value there. So maybe not outright coaching, but high-performance batting coaching or something like that.

‘But I think I have another couple of years left. The family is at a nice age where we can do a bit of travelling, although not too much.

‘The body is still relatively good so I’ll keep on trucking!’

McKenzie recovered from a slow start in this year’s t20 competition to put in a classy performance at Trent Bridge in the quarter-final.

But he modestly played down his contribution that set up the semi-final with Somerset this Saturday.

He smiled: ‘I hadn’t exactly got the runs I wanted to this year.

‘The other guys got us to the quarter-final so it was just nice to contribute in that game.

‘There’s a saying that even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then!

‘I guess I found my acorn at the right time.’