FORMER Test pacer Fidel Edwards will not represent Hampshire in the revamped English domestic championship which bowled off on Saturday, following a mutual decision by both parties.
And the 38-year-old’s five-year stay at the south coast outfit could also now be over, especially with the status of Kolpak players expected to change from next season due to the United Kingdom’s Brexit agreement.
Hampshire said in a statement that the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced cricket authorities here to scrap the traditional County Championship for a shortened tournament, had “caused significant difficulties with the availability of players who do not permanently reside in the UK.”
Edwards, who snatched 165 wickets in 55 Tests for West Indies, is currently in his native Barbados.
“Circumstances have conspired against a return for Fidel and sadly, it may be that he has played his last game for the club,” said Hampshire’s director of cricket, Giles White.“Personally, I can’t speak highly enough of Fidel and the impact that he has had. He’s been an unbelievable player over his whole career but most recently with us.
“We will miss him in every way. He’s been a great team mate and a wonderful performer, and we all look forward to welcoming Fidel back next year to pay tribute to his outstanding contribution to the club.” Edwards arrived at Hampshire on a Kolpak deal and made an instant impact, picking up 45 wickets from a mere eight matches in the 2015 season.
After injury put paid to his campaign the following year, Edwards snared 33 wickets in the 2017 season before producing a superb 2018 haul of 54 wickets.
Last season, he was good enough to finish with 45 wickets at an average of just under 26.
Edwards, who last played for West Indies eight years ago, said he still hoped he still had a future in the county game.
“It’s a bit sad that my Hampshire career looks to be ending in these circumstances, during the pandemic, but there is a lot to celebrate and remember from my days at Hampshire,” the right-armer said.
“I want to thank all my team-mates and the staff at the club who have made me feel so welcome and of course, the supporters too. I hope this isn’t it for me and county cricket but for now, I am proud to have pulled on the Hampshire shirt and look forward to returning for my testimonial match in 2021.”
Edwards is now set to turn out for Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League which bowls of later this month in Trinidad.