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James Fuller ‘Excited’ By The Prospect Of Pushing For Honours With Hampshire In 2019

Hampshire all-rounder James Fuller has settled into life on the south coast following his move from Middlesex earlier this year

After joining Hampshire from Middlesex at the conclusion of the 2018 season, James Fuller has already settled well into life on the south-coast.

The pacey right-arm seamer and handy lower-order batsman sealed a move to the Ageas Bowl in October – joining fellow off-season additions Keith Barker and Aneurin Donald – and has begun his winter training ahead of next year’s campaign.

The first-team squad began their pre-season schedule last month, combining strength & conditioning work in the gym with skill-based activity the nets, and Fuller has hit the ground running alongside his new teammates.

“It’s been great move so far and I’m loving it, the intensity is really high and the guys are training hard.

“You’ve got all of the facilities you need here at the Ageas Bowl, whether it be the gym or nets – I’ve actually been staying in the hotel too for the last couple of weeks so it’s just an excellent facility to work hard on your cricket, which is exactly what I’ve been doing the last few weeks.

“I’m working particularly hard in the gym to get everything out of me and working on flexibility is something I haven’t really focused on in the past but it seems to be allowing me to be a bit smoother at the crease. It’s an exciting team that’s full of pace, so it’s a good side to be amongst.

“I played my first football match for the Club the other week and didn’t disgrace myself so that’s a positive too!”

Having spent the first five years of his domestic career at Gloucestershire, Fuller made the move to Middlesex in 2016, making a stellar start in his first Division One contest with a five-wicket haul on debut against Hampshire.

The 28-year-old was part of the title-winning side that same season, whilst also making strong contributions in both white-ball formats, before suffering a season ending injury in 2017 – a year which saw Middlesex relegated to the second tier.

“I had a really good first season for Middlesex and was a part of that title winning side but then I missed out on a second season with an injury, so I was on the side-lines watching the ship sink going from Championship winners to fighting to stay in the first division.

“It was tough but also made you realise how unique it is to win a championship because everything seems to have to go your way and it was right up there in terms of achievements.

“It was also a really great environment to be in overall though (at Middlesex), which made it really tough to make the decision to move to Hampshire but equally I’m really happy with that decision.”

After bouncing back from injury to impress once again in 2018, Fuller turned down a contract extension with Middlesex earlier this year in order to join James Vince’s squad.

His former side remain in Division Two heading into next season, but it was Hampshire’s white-ball exploits, including their proud history in the T20 competitions as well as 2018’s Royal London One-Day Cup triumph, which proved to be the biggest draw.

“It’s always the danger for a sports club when you don’t offer a contract to a player in his final year because other opportunities present themselves and, in this age, moving isn’t necessarily seen as a bad thing.

“When the Hampshire opportunity came up it was, for me firstly it was a cricketing decision because I feel Hampshire are a Club with a strong white-ball history and a real white-ball culture which has led to winning tournaments.

“It’s also a red-ball team which is pushing to win the Championship with a great mix of players so for me that’s a great environment to be in – I’m at the peak of my powers at 28 and I wanted to be a part of a team that’s there or thereabouts.

“I’ve also got a baby on the way so it’s a lifestyle move as well. Trying to be in an environment that me and my partner want to live with a baby – coming from New Zealand, a country that’s pretty open – I feel it was the right time to take the opportunity when it presented itself.

Alongside his domestic achievements, Fuller also earned England Lions call-ups in 2016 and 2017, featuring on tours to Sri Lanka and the UAE, joining Hampshire wicket keeper-batsman Tom Alsop on both trips.

The right-armer’s selection came following success for Middlesex, praised for his speed and accuracy with the ball in particular. Now a few years on, Fuller is hoping to draw on his experience to offer more than just raw pace, complimenting the other bowling resources at Vince’s disposal.

“I’ve always tried to bowl fast growing up – potentially a lot of young bowlers get caught up in trying to bowl as fast as they can all the time. Hopefully I’ve got a bit of wisdom now in terms of when I do need to bowl express pace, and those guys like Fidel and Dale Steyn do that as well. Sometimes you bowl within yourself and instead use the skills which develop over years of playing.

“The signings this off-season have been great too – you’ve got Keith Barker who has got an excellent record as an all-rounder coming from Warwickshire, and they compliment guys like Kyle Abbott who’s an excellent red-ball bowler, so I think the squad is really well set-up and ready to push for honours next year.”

The best way to catch James and the rest of the Hampshire squad in action all year long next season is with a 2019 Hampshire Cricket Membership. 

More information on each Membership offering can be found via the link below, over the phone on 0844 847 1863 or in person at the Ageas Bowl Ticket Office (Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm).

2019 Membership
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