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From The Archive: T20 Overseas

Ahead of the Vitality Blast's return, and Chris Morris' debut, Dave Allen takes a look back at how our overseas players have fared over the years

It’s not always a simple matter to identify precisely who is and is not an overseas player in the various modern competitions but we know that in 2003 our first T20 men were Aussie Simon Katich - who was dismissed for 10 on his victorious debut v Sussex in our inaugural T20 match but finished that season averaging almost 60 - and Wasim Akram who matched Katich’s debut score with the bat and took 2-19 – sadly it was Hampshire’s only victory in the five matches of 2003. Three of Simon’s fellow countrymen, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke and Shane Warne appeared in 2004 (two-at-a-time) but only made modest contributions, with both Shanes getting ‘ducks’ on debut, Clarke 14, and skipper Warne returning 0-22 in our first quarter-final, which we lost to Lancashire.

Warne did not particularly enjoy T20s at Hampshire; in his one match the following year he scored 12 and took 1-29. His partner in 2005 was New Zealander Craig McMillan who scored 31 on debut (plus 0-28). Australian all-rounder Dominic Thornely started modestly in 2006 with 16 & 0-21 v Sussex at Arundel but he finished his stint with 150 runs and nine wickets; Adam Voges had a less successful time in 2007, and while neither Ian Harvey nor ‘Nante’ Hayward started with a bang in 2008, Harvey made almost 200 runs (at 22) and Hayward took 13 wickets. In 2008 leg-spinner Imran Tahir made a good impression in the longer forms and he played in the T20 in 2009, but with less success.

In 2010, we won the T20 for the first time after a thrilling Final v Somerset at the Rose Bowl which finished with scores level and one of our ‘overseas’ men Dan Christian ignoring his runner, risking dismissal and charging up the pitch last ball. Christian was joined by Abdul Razzaq who began with 12 and 2-16 v Kent, and Neil McKenzie whose debut 18* was modest in comparison with his season of 440 runs at 40.0.

That remains the highest T20 aggregate by an overseas Hampshire batsman. He passed 400 again in 2011, while Imran Tahir returned and Shahid Afridi made his debut with a wicket v Essex. We returned to Finals Day but Somerset had their revenge in a semi-final ‘super over’.

We were Champions again in 2012 with a variety of overseas men, Katich, McKenzie and Afridi returning, joined by Glenn Maxwell who scored 232 runs and took seven wickets.

McKenzie topped 300 runs in 2013, while left-arm pace man Sohail Tanvir took nine wickets but we lost the semi-final to Surrey. Two new pace men Kyle Abbott and Nathan Rimmington appeared in 2014 but neither took a wicket on debut and Rimmington is now a ‘one-match wonder’. Maxwell played a few games but without notable impact.

Australian Jackson Bird and Fidel Edwards had quiet seasons in 2015, but Yasir Arafat took 3-27 on debut v Essex and his 17 wickets helped Hampshire to reach Finals Day again where they lost the semi-final to Lancashire. 2016 was less successful with the four from overseas being West Indians Tino Best and Darren Sammy, South African Ryan McLaren and the return of Afridi - Sammy with 27 and 2-20 v Kent made the best start. Afridi came again in 2017 and took 13 wickets as well as that dynamic quarter-final century at Derby – the only overseas player who has reached three figures for Hampshire, although his team-mate George Bailey hit 89* in a season’s total of 301 runs.

Afridi also took 4-20 v Glamorgan, the best bowling by a Hampshire overseas ‘recruit’ but Nottinghamshire beat us in the semi-final, while last year’s T20 was not too happy for Hampshire, although all three recruits Munro, Mujeeb and Steyn started with two wickets on debut, to which Munro added 63. 

Dave Allen

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