CHRIS Wood is looking forward to playing alongside in-form Glenn Maxwell during the T20 Blast.
The Hampshire all-rounder wants to be back in the first team by the end of May after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee just before Christmas. Maxwell could be available at a similar time following his exploits at the Indian Premier League, but will not be available till early June if Kings XI Punjab make the final. Wood watched his teammate’s record-breaking first three innings for Kings XI Punjab with awe.
Maxwell twice made 95 from only 43 balls, either side of a 45-ball 89 – hitting a total of 28 fours and 17 sixes in the process.
He has not hit those heights in his most recent innings (15 and 6).
But he is the first IPL batsman to hit three successive scores of 80-plus.
“Only a handful of players in world cricket can do that and we know if he does that for us he wins three games for us,” said Wood. “He was a serious talent when we had him in 2012, we were completely out of a game at Chelmsford, but won it with three balls to spare. “He’s come on a long way since then so it’s quite scary to think how far he could potentially go in the game. “He’s capable of hitting most balls for six and there aren’t many people around who can do that in world cricket.
“He’s not scared, he takes a chance. If he gets out, he gets out and that’s what Twenty20’s about. “He can also field and bowl so will be a great addition.” Hampshire begin their T20 Blast campaign against Glamorgan on May 16 and the IPL final is on June 1 so Maxwell may not be available until his county's fifth game on June 5.
Wood is targeting Hampshire’s third or fourth game, against Middlesex on May 25 or Essex five days later, as his comeback.
“I’m hopefully four weeks away from being fully fit, the second T20 is a bit optimistic but the rehab’s going really well,” he continued.
“I’ll be in the second team as a batter in two weeks’ time, then bowling with restricted overs, then going flat out for four overs the following week and hopefully bowling well enough to be selected.”
Meanwhile, the third day of Hampshire's LV County Championship clash against Surrey at The Ageas Bowl was abandoned, without a ball bowled. Heavy overnight rain and a downpour at midday saturated the outfield and umpires Mark Benson and Russell Evans called off any chance of play, despite the outbreak of sunshine, following a 2.15pm pitch inspection. It means Hampshire will begin the final day on 289-3, following the 74 overs that were possible on days one and two, with the chance of gaining maximum batting points at least giving them something to play for.