Neil McKenzie Hampshire return delights Giles White

Neil McKenzie
McKenzie scored over 1,000 first-class runs last season

Hampshire cricket manager Giles White says the return of batsman Neil McKenzie is a huge boost for the club.

The 36-year-old South African, who was the only Hampshire player to score over 1,000 first-class runs last term, will play in the Friends Life t20 campaign.

"I'm delighted he's returning," White told BBC Radio Solent. "He has been outstanding in one-day cricket.

"Neil has been with us for a few years now and has had a big impact, both in the changing room and on the pitch.

McKenzie will return in time for the start of the Royals' T20 campaign, which starts away at south-coast rivals Sussex on Thursday 14 June.

White refuted claims that Hampshire would be affected by only having McKenzie available from 14 June onwards, saying the signing of former Australian batsman Simon Katich will compensate for his absence.

"He's been playing back-to-back seasons for a few years and he sees this as an opportunity for a short break and the chance to finish a house in South Africa," said White.

"We look forward to having him for the T20 season. He is brilliant in T20 and he is the architect of our batting and we build our team around him.

"We have recruited Simon Katich who is a like-for-like replacement and will bat at number four and then we'll welcome back Neil."

Meanwhile, Hampshire have confirmed Benny Howell and Tim Ravenscroft will not be returning to Rose bowl next season.

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