Danny Briggs has been backed to succeed as Hampshire’s number one spinner by his long-term coach and mentor.
The young slow left-armer impressed on his England debut last month but will begin the new season without his county ‘spin twin’ Imran Tahir.
But Raj Maru, who coached Briggs for more than a decade at Hampshire, believes it will make him an even better player.
He said: “Danny’s been fortunate to have an attacking spinner like Imran at the other end. He’s always been a great container and has a very skilful control of pace, which is his main variation. He’s also very accurate, so is good at creating the pressure that helps get him so many wickets.
“But the big challenge for him at Hampshire now is being the number one spinner. It means he will get a lot more overs under his belt and learn how to attack more because he will have to.”
Leg-spinner Tahir has been replaced by Simon Katich as Hampshire’s overseas player as he is expected to be in South Africa’s tour party this summer.
Katich’s improved left-arm chinamen will provide captain Jimmy Adams with another spin option, while Briggs’s fellow orthodox slow left-armer Liam Dawson can also expect to bowl more overs.
But Briggs, who has been rested when Hampshire have selected one specialist spinner in recent seasons, will be crucial to his county’s hopes of Championship promotion.
And having done well on his one-day debut, Maru believes the 20-year-old will graduate to the Test side in due course. “There’s no reason why he shouldn’t make the step up, and he’ll be pushing Monty [Panesar] all the way in the next ten years,” Maru added.