Hampshire boost top order ‘firepower’ by signing big-hitting Colin de Grandhomme for the 2021 T20 Vitality Blast
Hampshire feel a powerful top order will be key to bringing back their T20 glory days this summer.
The county had already signed Australian opener D’Arcy Short for the Vitality Blast tournament that begins on June 11 with a trip to Chelmsford to face Essex.
Today they have announced the arrival of ‘exceptional’ New Zealand international Colin de Grandhomme, a man with one of the fastest strike rates in T20 history.
Among players who have scored over 1,000 runs, de Grandhomme is second only to West Indian star Andre Russell.
In his 201 T20 matches the 34-year-old boasts 3,353 runs at 24.29 with a stunning strike rate of 161.20. Russell, who is also coming to The Ageas Bowl in 2021 as one of the Southern Brave’s marquee signings for The Hundred, has a strike rate of 169.45.
For comparison’s sake, Short’s career strike rate is 133.79 and Hampshire skipper James Vince - a man with over 6,500 career T20 runs - is 133.76.
De Grandhomme normally bats anywhere between 3 and 6 and Giles White, Hampshire Director of Cricket, said: ‘We were looking to add firepower to the middle-order and Colin fits that role perfectly.
‘He’s a consistent performer, brings a lot of experience and has the ability to clear the ropes.
‘His strike-rate is exceptional and, alongside his skill with the ball, we feel he is an excellent fit.’
De Grandhomme, who has played 102 matches for the Black Caps across all three formats, also has 66 career T20 wickets. But they have come at a high average of 38.80, while his career economy rate is 9.35.
It is, therefore, for his explosive batting that Hampshire supporters will be most looking forward to seeing their newest recruit.
Vince had a perfect view of de Grandhomme’s last T20 international half-century, as he was on the receiving end of it. Batting at No 4, he won the man of the match award for hitting 55 off 35 balls as the Kiwis defeated England at Nelson in November 2019 - the same match in which Vince (49) top scored for England.
Prior to that, de Grandhomme had struck 50 off 28 balls against India February 2019, with one four and four sixes
His T20 international strike rate of 143.23 is bettered by only one England player - Dawid Malan (144.31) - and is actually better than that recorded by West Indian master blaster Chris Gayle (148.81)
The Hampshire stint will be de Grandhomme’s third season of T20 Blast action, having appeared for Warwickshire in both 2017 and 2018.
Hampshire supporters will be hoping for some of the explosive hitting he produced for the Bears.
In his first year at Edgbaston, he struck 322 runs in 15 innings with a strike rate of 170.37 - the fourth highest rate of anyone who made 10 or more visits to the crease during that tournament.
His top score was an unbeaten 65 off 28 balls against Derbyshire with five sixes and five fours.
He also took five wickets, but they were at a costly 69.6.
De Grandhomme produced more fireworks in 2018; batting at No 5, he smote an undefeated 63 off 33 balls against Durham with five sixes and four fours.
There were another five sixes in his 49 not out off 28 balls against Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston.
Hampshire were once among English cricket’s T20 kings, reaching six successive Finals Days between 2010 and 2015 inclusive and winning the silverware twice (2010 and 2012).
They also reached Finals Day in 2017 but since then their T20 form has tailed off badly. In 2019 they won just five of their 14 group games and last year finished rock bottom with just two wins and seven losses in 10 group matches.