White thrilled by Hampshire firepower

Sam Northeast. Picture: davevokes.photography
Sam Northeast. Picture: davevokes.photography
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Giles White is excited by the potential of Hampshire’s batting line-up following the arrivals of Sam Northeast and Hashim Amla.

The director of cricket admits first-innings totals were his side’s undoing last summer – and ultimately led to a third successive County Championship division one relegation battle.

But with Northeast and Amla joining James Vince, Rilee Rossouw, Liam Dawson, Sean Ervine, Jimmy Adams, Tom Alsop and Joe Weatherley, he is looking forward to a few selection headaches.

‘Batting has been an area we identified we could strengthen,’ said White.

‘With Sam coming in as a domestic player and Hashim as an overseas for the first part of the season, we have two quality players.

‘Hopefully they perform well and give us good first-innings scores which are vital in the four-day format.

‘It gives the bowling attack something to work with and if we reflect on last year we would say we underperformed with the bat.

‘That is something we want to put right this summer and everyone is working extremely hard during the off-season to rectify that.

‘There is competition for places which is always healthy.

‘But there will be plenty of opportunities along the way for everyone. It is a long season.

‘With everyone fit and available it will cause us the right sort of headaches.

‘There are always tough conversations and tough selections.’

Northeast is currently in Barbados preparing for the ECB North-South Series.

The three-match series begins at the Kensington Oval on Sunday.

Northeast scored a century in the second match of the series last year as the South completed a 3-0 whitewash.

The South squad also includes former Hampshire fast bowler Tom Barber, who is now with Middlesex and has impressed on the ECB Pace Programme this winter.

Meanwhile, Vince is bidding to nail down his place in England’s Test team.

Following a frustrating Ashes series in Australia – where he scored 242 runs at an average of 26.89 – the Hampshire skipper is now in New Zealand preparaing for a two-match series, which begins next Thursday.