prepare for fireworks from Hampshire’s new addition Sohail Tanvir.
That’s the verdict of the Royals’ t20 skipper Dimi Mascarenhas.
It can’t be an easy task to improve a side with such a proud record in the competition – having lifted the trophy twice in the past three years.
But the Hampshire captain believes Tanvir will add some crucial killer instinct.
The Pakistan ace has a fantastic t20 CV from playing all across the world.
He’s lit up the Indian Premier League, the Australian Big Bash, and leagues in South Africa and Sri Lanka.
Now he’s preparing to make his Friends Life T20 bow as Hampshire host Surrey at the Ageas Bowl tonight (7.10pm).
It promises to be a cracking encounter as the hosts launch the defence of their trophy.
Mascarenhas believes Hampshire can win it again and feels overseas recruit Tanvir can lift a squad with such impressive pedigree to even greater heights.
He said: ‘It’s exciting to have him here.
‘He’s one of the best twenty20 bowlers in the world.
‘Having him in the side is only going to make us stronger.
‘Historically we have been a bit lacking in the death department and hopefully he’s going to put that right for us.
‘It’s nice to go into a competition knowing we can win it.
‘Most of the guys have won it twice and they will be confident.
‘They know what is required to go out there and win the tournament.
‘In that respect, we have got a little bit of an edge.
‘It’s only a slight edge, though, because people are going to come here and try to knock us off.
‘We’re excited about it. We want to keep that run going.
‘We know it is going to be harder so it has spurred us on to work harder and become a better team.’
Hampshire spinner Danny Briggs will miss the clash with Surrey as he is on England duty.
Batsman James Vince was left out of the international set-up but will hope to prove his quality with some hard-hitting displays for the county.
Mascarenhas feels the young guns in the Hampshire line-up are well equipped to play their part at international level and can use the domestic competition as a platform to show it.
He said: ‘We have got a lot of young guys in our team who have performed pretty well – some have put in some really special performances.
‘They will be looking to kick on. You look at the England side now, especially in t20 and one-day cricket, and there is a lot of young players.
‘I think our boys can sneak in there.’
Hampshire are hoping for a crowd of more than 5,000 for tonight’s t20 competition curtain raiser.
Some fans will be watching from the ‘best seat in the house’ at the Ageas Bowl which includes a hot-tub, a range of garden furniture and refreshment – from a base on the boundary rope.
In addition, schools, clubs and community groups have been able to take advantage of group deals.