McKenzie unlikely to return to Hants

Romsey Advertiser: McKenzie unlikely to return to Hants McKenzie unlikely to return to Hants

Neil McKenzie is unlikely to return to Hampshire this year because of family commitments.

The former South Africa Test batsman was consistently excellent in all competitions at No. 4 as Hampshire won three trophies in four seasons, including the 2012 limited-overs double.

His vast experience and joie de vivre will be missed as much as his volume of runs, which total 5,099 in all competitions.

McKenzie, 38, played 41 LV County Championship matches, scoring 2,757 at 45.2.

His seven centuries include the 237 he made against Yorkshire in 2011, when he and Michael Carberry shared 523 for the third wicket - the county's highest-ever partnership.

Always a calming presence in the top order, McKenzie's strike-rotation skills and uncanny ability to find the gaps proved there was more to t20 batsmanship than brutal six hitting.

He contributed 1,289 runs at 41.6 in 55 t20 matches as Hampshire reached four successive Finals Days.

McKenzie top scored with 52 when Hampshire won the unforgettable 2010 t20 final at the Ageas Bowl.

His nine t20 fifties also include arguably his best innings for the club, the unbeaten 79 at Trent Bridge as Hampshire completed a sensational comeback against Nottinghamshire in the 2012 quarter-final.

McKenzie also made 912 40-over runs at 36.5 and still plays for the Highveld Lions.

But the dad-of-two, who is married to model Kerry McGregor, has never been able to commit to a full season with Hampshire.

Hampshire Director of Cricket, Giles White said: “Neil has been an immensely popular player and it’s no coincidence that the club has enjoyed one of its most successful periods during the years he has been with us.

"What can get lost, and what I believe marks out the very top players is their positive influence in and around the club.

"This is where Macca had a huge impact, and no doubt a lasting impression on the team. The challenge now is for one of our talented young batsmen to fill his shoes.”

Hampshire have prepared for McKenzie’s absence by signing Will Smith and Joe Gatting since the end of last season.

 

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