Cricket World Cup has been great but Hampshire are eager to soon have Ageas Bowl home comforts again

Adi Birrell can’t wait for Hampshire to have Ageas Bowl home comforts again – but refused to blame disruption to the schedule for the defeat to Essex.

Thursday, 20th June 2019, 4:19 pm
Updated Monday, 24th June 2019, 1:53 pm
The Ageas Bowl has played host to plenty of World Cup action including the match between England and West Indies on June 14. Picture: Adrian Dennis/Getty

The county have been made temporarily homeless since the middle of May, when the ICC took control of the Ageas Bowl for the Cricket World Cup, writes Alex Smith.

Hampshire have been able to use the facilities but only for set periods of time, rather than their typical freedom.

First team manager Birrell watched the side suffer a very disappointing defeat to Essex in the Specsavers County Championship earlier this week, having been bowled out for 118 and 88.

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India's captain Virat Kohli attends a training session at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday ahead of their 2019 World Cup cricket match against Afghanistan which takes place on Saturday. Picture: Saeed Khan/Getty Images

And despite not using a lack of base as an excuse for the heavy loss, Birrell reckons having the Ageas Bowl back will allow for better preparation ahead of a top-of-the-table crunch clash with Somerset which starts on Sunday, June 30 at Taunton.

He said: ‘It has been a little bit awkward that you can’t train at your home venue, although no excuse there for the performance against Essex.

‘The problem is you can’t practise when you want.

‘It is fantastic to have a World Cup on your doorstep and all the players are following all the scores but the ground then isn’t yours and it can become hard to train.

‘We have a week off before the game against Somerset and will prepare ourselves well.

‘We get our stadium back again on Monday so from then on we will be hard on it.’

Hampshire were completely overwhelmed by Essex off-spinner Simon Harmer, who claimed 12 wickets in the match, at Chelmsford.

And Birrell, a former leg-spinner himself, admits coping with top quality spin bowlers is a weakness with the current batting line-up.

It is something he wants them to be able to work on.

He said: ‘We need to get more experience against good quality spinners.

‘We weren’t very good against Harmer.

‘We will have to learn from facing him and use the lessons going forward.’

India face Afghanistan at the Ageas Bowl in the World Cup on Saturday and trained there on Thursday ahead of the match.

Then Afghanistan play Bangladesh there on Monday.