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Vince Hails Sensational Abbott

James Vince reflects on Abbott's Hampshire history and looks ahead to the end of the season

James Vince hailed record-breaker Kyle Abbott but admitted he has some sympathy for Somerset’s batsmen – because he has to face him in the nets.

South African fast bowler Abbott took 17 of Somerset’s 20 wickets at the Ageas Bowl this week to claim a series of records including the best-ever Specsavers County Championship match figures for a fast bowler.

Abbott's return of 17 for 86 - he took nine for 40 in the first innings and then eight for 46 - were also the best by a Hampshire player and the best first-class return for 63 years.

“He deserves all the accolades that will come his way," Vince said, after Hampshire had thrashed Somerset by 136 runs.

“When you face him in the nets there is something different about him. He has this knack of getting the ball to move. It is one thing to get the ball to reverse swing but to have the skill and accuracy to do what he did was unbelievable.

“I can’t put into words how good he is.”

Vince insists captaining such a great bowler is simple, despite occasionally needing to coax him into bowling extra spells.

He will need to push Abbott once more this season with a finale against Kent coming next week.

“It doesn’t take much captaincy with Abbott,” Vince said. “He is very experienced and knows exactly what he is doing.

“Very occasionally he needs a bit of encouragement to get the ball back in his hands.

“He has bowled a hell of a lot of cricket this year, he has played in all formats, so his body must be a bit sore but he keeps on coming and coming.

“As a captain to have someone to turn to like that and know that if there is anything there he will get it out of the pitch is great for me.”

Hampshire are aiming to maintain their third-place spot in Division One during the clash at The Spitfire Ground, Canterbury – if they manage to do so it would be their best finish since 2008.

And Vince thinks a top-three placing would show Hampshire’s improvements in red-ball cricket this season.

He said: “We are in a great position to finish third. We have it in our hands up at Canterbury.

“I feel like we have made strides in the right direction this season. Adi has focussed on a few points and one of them is becoming hard to beat when we are up against it.

“In the past, we maybe have folded over a little bit so we have found a way of digging deep and getting into games and the Somerset game was a perfect example of that.”

Vince is ending the season in top form having struck an incredible 59-ball 91 against Surrey and a first Championship century of the campaign versus Somerset.

And the England batsman has revealed that on-field battles have helped motivate him to score runs.

“Both in the Somerset and Surrey games, I feel like I have got into the contest a bit more,” Vince said.

“Against Surrey, I got into a few words with Rikki Clarke, nothing major but I also got into a couple of their guys this week. It seemed to get me going.

“I haven’t played a lot of red-ball cricket this summer so it was very pleasing to get my first century.

“This time of year can be tough if there isn’t a lot to play for but as I am pretty fresh it has made me up for it.

“I am timing the ball well and have taken training into matches to make contributions.”

Earlier this week Sydney Sixers announced Vince as one of their overseas players for this winter’s Big Bash tournament.

Vince scored 269 runs in eight innings for the Sixers last season and is looking forward to returning to the SCG.

“I really enjoyed my time there last season,” he said. “I think I played eight or nine games at the back half to make the knockout stages.

“I am really pleased to go back there. They are a great bunch of lads and the franchise is run superbly well. I had the family last year and they’ll be back again and Sydney is a great spot to be while it is cold over here.”


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