West Indies T20 skipper Darren Sammy has joined fellow countrymen Dwayne Bravo and superstar Chris Gayle in the South Group of the NatWest Blast after signing a short-term deal with Hampshire.
The hard-hitting all-rounder adds further power to an already strong side on the south-coast who now become arguable favourites for the competition.
The big Saint-Lucian boasts an impressive average of just under 20 and a massive strike rate of 152 during his international knocks is sure to put bums on seats at the Ageas Bowl as Hampshire look to lift the crown for a third time.
He joins the likes of James Vince, Michael Carberry and Shahid Afridi in Southampton with Hampshire clearly looking to fight fire with fire this campaign. Their record in the competition is almost exemplary with six consecutive appearances in Finals day, winning the cup twice, in 2010 and 2012 respectively.
Sammy also brings vital class with the ball, a skill that is often forgotten when looking at the powerful West Indian. He has collected 131 T20 wickets at an average of 27.44 including one five-wicket bag. This is his third taste of the English T20 cup having enjoyed stints at Glamorgan and Nottinghamshire in the past.
The West Indian skipper will be available for four-weeks in June before jetting off to his native land to take part in the Caribbean Premier League in July.
Sammy becomes the latest big name to join the competition as the wealthier clubs attempt to take stranglehold on the cup before yet another restructuring of the county game. (Yes, another change I am struggling to keep up too!) The latest plan to make the T20 Blast more appealing to the global market and compete with the likes of Australia (The Big Bash) and India (The IPL) is to split into two groups with top group consisting of the eight quarter-finalist from this year’s competition.
So it comes as no surprise seeing the 'bigger' counties dig deep into their pockets as they attempt to become one of the elite eight. Rest assured, Sammy will not be the last big name snapped up to entertain us this summer.
Still it'll be fun to see how it pans out as always.
Posted by - David Bowden
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