Wood: We’re targeting t20 finals day hat-trick

Royals bowler Chris Wood. Picture: Robin Jones
Royals bowler Chris Wood. Picture: Robin Jones
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Chris Wood looked ahead to the start of Hampshire Royals’ Friends Life t20 campaign and admitted: We would love to make it three finals days in a row.

While the county’s Championship form has been disappointing in recent seasons, it has been a very different story in the 20-over format.

After winning the competition in 2010, the Royals stormed to finals day again last season before a one-over eliminator semi-final defeat to Somerset ended their quest for glory at Edgbaston.

The side – captained by Dimi Mascarenhas this time around – begin their 2012 campaign against Sussex Sharks this evening.

And Wood, who lost his place in the squad for last week’s Championship match at Kent, is targeting a recall for the competition he enjoys more than any other.

The 21-year-old believes this summer’s improved form in both the four-day game and CB40 group stages shows the Royals are well set for another thrilling t20 run.

He told The News: ‘I can’t wait for the t20 to start up again – it’s a brilliant competition.

‘When you’ve got a big crowd at the Ageas Bowl in a close game and you come out on the winning side, it’s a great feeling.

‘All the boys are really excited and we’re just hoping we can make it three finals days in a row.

‘That would be a big, big achievement for the club.

‘We’ve got a mixture of young and experience players, and guys who have played all around the world in various t20 competitions, so we’re very strong in that format.

‘And t20 is definitely one of my strengths.

‘I came into the 20-over side before I started to play county cricket.

‘Personally, it’s my favourite format because it’s a chance to go out there and express yourself.’

While South African batsman Neil McKenzie returns as a Kolpak player this term, Shahid Afridi is back to join Australian pair Simon Katich and Glenn Maxwell as Hampshire’s overseas options.

That is a thrilling prospect for Royals fans – and Wood.

‘With the experience and young talent we’ve got it’s a very exciting stage of the season,’ he added.

‘There are high-class players all around the park.

‘We’ve got the two overseas spots, so I’m not sure how they’re looking to use them or who’s going to play when.

‘As far as I know, Afridi’s not here for the first few games so that might give Glenn a chance to come into the side and show what he can do.

‘We’re all looking forward to it and are desperate to get off to a really good start. We set our standards high in all competitions.

‘But over the last few years we’ve done brilliantly in t20 and would be over the moon to make it through to finals day once again.’