Michael Bates has spoken of his sympathy for Hampshire wicketkeeper Lewis McManus.
The Ageas Bowl gloveman smashed a six to win Friday’s thrilling Vitality Blast clash with Somerset at Taunton.
But he is locked in a battle with fellow academy product Tom Alsop for the spot behind the stumps.
The latter, who picked up a hamstring injury in the County Championship clash with Somerset at the beginning of the month, is often preferred for his greater threat with the bat.
Bates, who usurped Hampshire hero Nic Pothas in 2011, found himself in a similar position when Adam Wheater arrived at the Ageas Bowl in 2013.
The 28-year-old, who now coaches them both, said: ‘Tom and Lewis are both very different.
‘Tom could probably play in the Hampshire team as a batter and I have worked a lot with him on his keeping.
‘He has worked very hard over the past couple of years on his keeping.
‘He has been dedicated to improving and becoming an all-round package.
‘He is doing brilliantly and is only going to get better and better with the gloves.
‘Then you have Lewis who is fairly well balanced as a cricketer.
‘His batting and keeping ability is fairly equal.
‘I can sympathise with Lewis when he isn’t in the side.
‘I am there as a coach and a friend for both of them.
‘It is what it is and Lewis has worked tirelessly on both his batting and keeping and has turned himself into an efficient all-round player.’
Bates, who hit one century in a 52-match first-class career, was released by the county at the end of the 2014 season.
And after a short spell at Somerset, he retired the following year with a batting average of 19.94.
Bates helped Hampshire to Twenty20 Cup and Clydesdale Bank 40 glory, while his average of 3.5 catches per match in 2010 was a Hampshire record.
Learn more about Bates’ fascinating career as one of the country’s most talented glovemen in his new book, Keeping Up, available exclusively from Amazon now.