Hampshire have welcomed Michael Carberry back to action after eight months out with a life-threatening illness – but could be without both Michael Lumb and Nic Pothas for their likely Friends Life t20 quarter-final tie in early August.
Carberry’s appearance in a Second Eleven Championship match against Kent this week was his first game since blood clots were discovered on his lung nine months ago.
The 30-year-old batsman has been on medication for several months but was finally given the all-clear to resume playing this week. Carberry’s return to action has been welcome news for a Hampshire squad struggling at the foot of the County Championship first division.
His career was under serious threat when he had to pull out of the England Performance Programme’s trip to Australia in November. But he came through his first innings since the end of last season successfully on July 6, making 42 before he was caught behind down the leg side.
That same evening Hampshire all but booked themselves a t20 quarter-final by beating Essex at The Rose Bowl, despite the loss of Pothas and Lumb in freak circumstances.
Pothas was rushed to hospital the night before for an emergency appendix operation, ruling him out for up to six weeks. Then Lumb sprained an ankle playing football in the pre-match warm-up, making him another doubt for Hampshire’s expected t20 quarter-final.
But Carberry’s comeback means he could now replace Lumb in Hampshire’s Championship team for next week’s south coast derby against Sussex at Hove, which starts on Monday July 11. Hampshire are 36 points adrift of safety at the foot of the first division but Carberry’s return would be a considerable boost.
“I’m hoping to be back for that,” confirmed Carberry. “We’ve got quite a big mountain to climb to get ourselves off the bottom of the table. It’s been hard to watch from afar and we’re at the stage where we have to fight – there’s no other way round it.”