08:53PM, Wed 18 April 2012

Hants top order backed to shine

Hampshire will be desperate for a return to the top flight after relegation to County Championship Division Two last season, with coach Giles White predicting his top order will come to the rescue over the course of the season.

A ninth-place finish in Division One last season saw them drop to the second tier of the County Championship ladder and an exit of some more familiar names means Hampshire are having to put their faith in a number of younger and more-inexperienced faces.

Hampshire opened their County Championship Division Two season with a loss to Gloucestershire at the Rose Bowl and what could have really concerned fans is the way Hants slumped to 72-6 at one stage in their second innings.

White told BBC Radio Solent that his top batting order “didn’t quite click” and that contributed to a disappointing start to their campaign, but he is backing his stars to step up and show their quality.

“The top order are a class act and they'll come good,” he added.

One reason of optimism for Hampshire fans will be the sight of David Balcombe taking 11 wickets in a County Championship match for the first time; their optimism has extended to cricket betting odds.

If Hampshire want to get out of County Championship Division Two then they need Balcombe to be a star in leading the bowling attack and Michael Carberry getting the runs to propel them up the table, and also force his way back into the England squad.

But Hants do have a youthful squad and another couple of years in Division Two to see them develop as players into a strong unit might not be the worst thing ever to happen to the county.

The County Cricket Championship is becoming, along with the Betfair Indian Premier League, one of the most exciting leagues in the world.

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