In partnership with the Cricketers’ Who’s Who, here’s Wisden’s profile of Hampshire for 2018.
HOME GROUND: The Ageas Bowl, Southampton
CAPTAIN: James Vince (all formats)
2017 RESULTS: CC1: 5/8; RL50: 6/9 South Group; T20: Semi-finalists
HONOURS: Championship: (2) 1961, 1973; Gillette/NatWest/C&G/FP Trophy: (3) 1991, 2005, 2009; Benson & Hedges Cup: (2) 1988, 1992; Pro40/National League/CB40/YB40/ RL50: 2012; Sunday League: (3) 1975, 1978, 1986; T20 Cup: (2) 2010, 2012
Last summer Hampshire narrowly avoided Championship relegation for the third season running. They will need to churn out some wins at the batter-friendly Ageas Bowl to avoid another dice with the drop; five of their seven home games were drawn last year. And more runs too, with no batsman averaging 40 or above in 2017.
The capture of Sam Northeast was a coup and a reminder of the pulling power of top-tier cricket. George Bailey will not return because of family commitments but Hashim Amla should provide plenty of runs for the first three months of the season. Led by the South African Kolpak paceman Kyle Abbott, the bowling looks strong, with Dale Steyn supplementing it for the latter part of the season, replacing Amla.
Fidel Edwards is primed for his fourth season at the club and all-rounder Ian Holland – a Victorian with a British passport – signed a two-year contract after impressing last summer. England spinner Mason Crane will want to improve on last year’s 16 wickets at 44.69. He was far more effective as part of a trio of Hampshire spinners who took the club to T20 Finals Day.
IN: Sam Northeast (Ken), Hashim Amla (SA), Dale Steyn (SA)
OUT: Michael Carberry (Lei), Will Smith (Dur), George Bailey (Aus)
First-team coach: Craig White
White was appointed in November 2016 to replace Dale Benkenstein. The former England and Yorkshire all-rounder has been on the Hampshire staff since 2012, taking up the roles of assistant and bowling coach, and took charge for six Championship matches at the end of the 2016 season before he was appointed first-team coach on a full-time basis. White had a distinguished 17-year playing career which included 30 Tests and 51 ODIs.
T20: 5/9 South Group