After starting our preview of the runners and riders in the County Championship with Durham, we head south to the Rose Bowl to look at Hampshire, who will be looking to improve on last season’s disappointing seventh placed finish.
There are many. The opening partnership of Michael Carberry and Jimmy Adams is arguably the best in the division, and the likes of Michael Lumb, James Vince and Sean Ervine are also talented batsmen.
The acquisition of Imran Tahir from Warwickshire means that Hampshire will have a potent spin attack with the immensely promising Danny Briggs already looking like an England spinner of the future.
On paper the pace ranks also look strong with Kabir Ali, Simon Jones, James Tomlinson and the shrewd acquisition of Friedel de Wet, as well as canny skipper Dominic Cork…
…but Kabir and Jones have both had injury concerns and it is doubtful whether either will last the whole season – or even sadly half the season in Jones’ case.
The county also has a long recent history of underachievement in the championship, so it will take a brave man to predict that will change in 2011.
The addition of Friedel de Wet looks like a canny piece of business and if he can reproduce his spell with the second new ball in the Centurion Test of 2009 against England with any sort of regularity, then he should earn a bagful of wickets. But can he stay fit?
Look out for…
If it is a hot summer then purists should enjoy watching Tahir and Briggs bowling in tandem.
4th - serious challengers for the title, but not quite winners in our view this time.
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