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Hants discuss Clark Twenty20 replacement

Hampshire are hoping to sign a Twenty20 specialist as a replacement for Stuart Clark.

Shane Warne, Paul Terry and Rod Bransgrove discussed potential signings yesterday, with the start of the Twenty20 Cup only a week away.

The Hawks begin their Twenty20 campaign against the Kent Spitfires under the Rose Bowl lights next Friday.

And with Clark leaving after Wednesday's Friends Provident Trophy semi-final against Warwickshire, Hampshire are considering a replacement as they bid to reach the Twenty20 quarter-finals for only the second time in five years.

The likelihood is that the new man will be a batsman, possibly Shane Watson or Michael Clarke, while Brian Lara cannot be discounted.

Lara was hoping to tour England for one last time with the West Indies this summer, before deciding to retire after the World Cup.

advertisementIn a recent interview, he admitted: "I think I'm going to play cricket again. If I go six to eight months without cricket, I would lose it."

Lancashire have signed Sri Lanka star Sanath Jayasuriya to boost their Twenty20 campaign, but the Hawks would trump that by bringing Lara and Shane Warne together.

The pair have already been linked to a breakaway Twenty20 league in India in October, and chairman Bransgrove said: "Brian Lara is an interesting one but if we bring in a replacement for Stuart Clark it's more likely to be someone who has an affinity with the club.

"We like to sign overseas players who we already have a relationship with."

That would point to Watson or Clarke, while Matthew Hayden cannot be ruled out ten years after his one season with Hampshire as a 25-year-old.

With the Twenty20 World Cup taking place in South Africa in September, Cricket Australia is unlikely to stand in the way of any of that trio gaining valuable experience of the shortest form of the game.

The Twenty20 group campaign lasts a fortnight, the quarter finals are to be played on July 17/18 and Finals Day this year is at Edgbaston on August 4.

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