Dawson looking forward to going up against ‘world’s best’ as busy winter continues


It’s been a contrasting few weeks for Hampshire and England all-rounder Liam Dawson.

Just five days after making his ODI return for Eoin Morgan’s side after a two-year absence, the left-arm spinner was ruled out of the remainder of England’s tour of Sri Lanka with a side-strain injury.

The news came shortly after picking up 1-26 in his first spell with the ball in Dambulla, but despite the frustration at missing out on more playing opportunities in Sri Lanka, Dawson remains positive about the months ahead.

“I felt (the side strain) during my second or third over in the second ODI and I knew something wasn’t quite right. I guess the adrenaline got me through but I came off the field and that night it got gradually worse.

“It’s nothing too bad which is the good thing, but where the series is so short and the games come thick and fast, it’s an injury where 10 days to two weeks is going to keep you out of the series.

“I’ve been very lucky with injuries and haven’t had many over the years and the last two or three years I feel like my white-ball cricket has been strong so it’s frustrating having hoped to have played a big part in the rest of the series with the pitches over there.

“But that’s gone now and there’s a lot of cricket left this winter, and potentially a World Cup if I perform well for Hampshire at the start of the season.”

England secured victory in the five-match ODI series after claiming wins in three of the first four fixtures, despite the rain intervening at least once throughout each match.

But with Dawson having headed home early, his rehabilitation and training has already begun ahead of a busy November and December.

After being involved in last year’s inaugural T10 competition hosted in the UAE – starring for a Pakhtoons side which reached the semi-final stages – Dawson will once again line up for the side led by former Hampshire spinner Shahid Afridi next month.

“Now I’m in the gym and doing a bit of rehab for two or three weeks, and then I leave for Dubai in for the T10 competition which was great fun last winter.

“Last year was the first competition put on and the crowds were good, the standard and the wickets were brilliant too.

“As a player, it’s great to play in these competitions and to go against some of the world’s best players is exciting – hopefully this year can be the same and it’s a competition that could continue to grow in the future.”

With his winter commitments, there’s little rest for Dawson on the back of an excellent summer, one which saw him picking up 50 wickets at an average of just 25.38, whilst also contributing 856 runs with the bat across all formats.

The 28-year-old made key contributions in this year’s Royal London One-Day Cup triumph as well as the Vitality Blast campaign, but knows there’s work still for the side to do to improve next year, particularly in four-day cricket.

“I think this season was OK as a whole – I felt that my white-ball game was strong and I think I was able to contribute match-winning performances which was something that I always look to do.

“In four-day cricket, I think as a team it was a poor year and frustrating at times. Even though we stayed up, not competing for the title when everyone thinks we should each year is difficult – that’s something we have to address moving forward, and there’s a lot of hard-work to do to put that right.”

Hampshire have bolstered the squad in recent months with new additions Keith Barker, James Fuller joining the Club from Warwickshire and Middlesex this off-season. They also join batsman Aneurin Donald who sealed a move to the Ageas Bowl from Glamorgan in August.

The trio will add further depth to James Vince’s side with both bat and ball in both white-ball and red-ball competitions, as well as ensuring there are plenty of options to balance to the side.

“I think they’re strong signings and cover a lot of bases. If you look at our bowling attack we’re still putting performances in which is brilliant but I think we know we need to strengthen as a group.

“Hopefully both (Keith) Barker and (James) Fuller add that depth and they’ve both got good records which show they can help us get to where we want to be next year.”