Take a sneak-peek at the Royal London One-Day Cup final programme and hear from the man behind Hampshire's white-ball success and how Heino Kuhn is finding redemption in England.
THE PERFECT BALANCE
Giles White discuss Hampshire’s white-ball legacy and balancing academy products with overseas talent.
It’s hard to avoid Hampshire’s white-ball success at the Ageas Bowl. A mural of the 2012 double-winning team and framed pictures in the players’ dining room ensure trophy-winning moments are not forgotten.
Hampshire have reached a Lord’s final or T20 Finals Day in nine of their 10 seasons under first-team coach/director of cricket Giles White.
“We’ve been fortunate to be in one most years in some shape or form,” says White. “It’s great to get into another final and to be blessed with another big day at Lord’s. It’s always a great occasion for the club, for the players and the supporters.”
Key to Hampshire’s consistency has been White’s shrewd amalgam of overseas experience and indigenous youth.
Hampshire still have two survivors from the 2009 Friends Provident Trophy final winners in their squad: homegrown duo Jimmy Adams and Liam Dawson. James Vince and Chris Wood, also graduates of Hampshire’s academy, have been regulars since 2010.
“Sometimes we get a bit of stick for signing Kolpaks, but we have a nucleus of players who have come through the system, and they complement the internationals, who help with their development,” says White. “It’s not easy to get the right mix. It’s always good to have these players coming through, but they don’t come through every year.”
Hampshire’s 2018 one-day team has featured several fresh faces in Joe Weatherley, Tom Alsop, Brad Taylor and Lewis McManus, while Mason Crane is Hampshire’s leading wicket-taker.
“In this competition, we’ve had eight players who have come through the academy involved this year,” says White. “Vince and Daws continue to play with a lot of passion and that’s great for the club. They came through a decade or so ago with Wood, [Michael] Bates and [Danny] Briggs and this is the next group.
“Brad’s come in and done so well – Mason, Tom and Joe as well. They’re a group of very talented young players making their way in the game.”
AN ENGLISH REDEMPTION
After a dismal experience for South Africa in England last summer, Heino Kuhn has bounced back in extraordinary style for Kent.
Possessing tremendous strength of character would be a prerequisite for any batsman hoping to recover fully from a humbling Test tour to England when little or nothing went right. Last summer, Heino Kuhn endured such a tour.
Kuhn left these shores with a paltry aggregate of 113 runs to his name at an average of 14.12 and, after a decade of trying to curry selectorial favour, his four-game Test career concluded inside a month with a summary dismissal by the Proteas’ management.
Barely one year later and Kent have unearthed a player – yes, that same Heino Kuhn – with a granite-like disposition and a batsman who seemingly munches kryptonite for breakfast.
With 664 Royal London One-Day Cup runs to his credit ahead of the final, Kuhn is the competition’s leading-scorer by quite some distance and his four centuries – including 127 in the semi-final victory over Worcestershire Rapids – are chiefly responsible for steering Kent to their first Lord’s final since 2008. Little wonder then that Spitfires’ assistant coach Allan Donald nicknamed him “Our Little Nugget”, while teammate Joe Denly simply refers to him as ‘The Rock’.
“Whatever happened for South Africa is in the past, and there’s always been this belief within me,” says Kuhn. “I think a lot of people, after seeing my Test performances over here last year, would maybe not agree with me, but I believe I’m good enough to play here in England.
“So, my goal now is to score as many runs as possible for Kent, to be successful in every game as it comes along and to try to win trophies for this club. I’m really enjoying my time with Kent and loving playing cricket with this group of guys. I said when I signed that I wanted to win trophies and that’s exactly what everyone in our dressing room is aiming to achieve.”
For the full articles pick up a copy of the official Royal London One-Day Cup Final match programme at Lord’s on Saturday.