Pothas's big test | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 18, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 18, 2007

Pothas's big test

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Nic Pothas has one of the more challenging roles in county cricket.
He bats in the top order for Hampshire, keeps wicket to Shane Warne, and is now focusing on Saturday's Friends Provident Trophy final with Durham.
But even batting on the bowler-friendly Rose Bowl pitch has not stopped him averaging over 50 in both the Trophy and County Championship this season.
"The way I do it, when I'm keeping I'm a keeper alone -- and when I'm batting I'm a batter alone," he told BBC Sport.
"I've found the only way is to keep it separate, and keep the focus as acute as possible.
"I like to think I give a team flexibility as I can shuffle up and down the order, if we need to play an extra batsman or bowler.
"Six is my preferred position, but I'm not really fussed where I bat.
"Opening the batting for a long period of time is tough for a keeper, but if that's what's needed then I'm happy to do it."
Pothas enjoyed a purple patch with the bat when Hampshire last reached a Lord's final in the 2005 C&G Trophy.
In both the semi-final against Yorkshire and the final against Warwickshire, he opened the innings with John Crawley, hit a half-century and shared in a hundred partnership with Sean Ervine, a centurion on both occasions.
Pothas, now 33, played three one-day internationals for South Africa in 2000 but moved to Hampshire two years later, courtesy of his Greek passport.
However, he has played down suggestions of an England call-up, although he has been applying for UK citizenship.
"I'm still in the process of qualifying -- you take a test, and you have to fill in documents and send them in, so I'm waiting around to see what happens," he explained.
"But I've always said (playing for) England would be a bonus -- I didn't come here with that as my goal.
"I came here to play county cricket, but leaving South Africa was one of the best decisions I ever made.
"I enjoyed my time there, but it had got to the point where it wasn't a challenge any more, and at Hampshire with Warnie, it's a challenge every day.
"It's an honour to keep wicket to him, as there's not a great number who have kept to him for any length of time -- only the likes of Ian Healy and Adam Gilchrist."
Matt Prior, born in Johannesburg like Pothas, is England's current choice behind the stumps -- but the Hampshire man feels the modern expectations of wicketkeepers are not always fair.
"Of late it's been very important for keepers to bat, and I've never quite understood the theory behind that as the keeper has more work to do than anyone else," he said.
"He has to bat, but it's quite acceptable for opening bowlers not to be able to bat.
"There's a lot of competition, and at the moment they could pick any one of six keepers who would do well."
A new face in the Hampshire attack is recent signing Daren Powell, and the West Indian pace bowler has clearly already made an impression on his new team-mates.
"Daren Powell is the funniest bloke I've ever met," Pothas said.
"He laughs the whole time, but we can't understand him when he speaks. I know I speak pretty quickly, but he beats me by a thousand words a minute.
"But he's got such a drive to get better, and his best is phenomenal.
Looking ahead to Saturday's final, Pothas is hoping to continue Hampshire's record of success in Lord's finals -- and has stressed his great affection for the ground.
"When I started playing cricket as a kid, South Africa was under apartheid, and we saw these finals on TV.
"I can remember Robin Smith getting runs against Waqar Younis in the 1991 final against Surrey, and all you wanted to do was to play at Lord's," he explained.
"I came to play club cricket in Hertfordshire when I was 18, and I must have travelled down about eight times just to look at Lord's.
"Durham could be overawed by the situation, but I don't think that's going to be the case.
"If you look at Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Steve Harmison, Paul Collingwood, Dale Benkenstein and Otis Gibson, they've all played on big stages, so it shouldn't affect them.
"They've got to be favourites on paper, as they've got so many internationals in their side.
"But you look at what happened to Lancashire and Sussex in the Twenty20 finals -- it's all about what happens on the day."

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