Hampshire have had a real struggle since the start of the year and have failed to win a match yet in all competitions.
Their new captain, Dimi Mascarenhas has left to play in the IPL for four weeks, and to be fair it's not an ideal time for a skipper to disappear, but Nic Pothas and Jimmy Adams will deputise in one-day cricket and four-day cricket respectively.
With the players they have lost, obviously the inspirational Shane Warne being the main one, James Bruce has retired and Shaun Udal retired also but then signed for Middlesex, and with Mascarenhas heading off with the team having made a poor start, everyone is looking at them to see how they get past this transitional stage.
Results haven't gone their way and all of a sudden they have to dig in and stop the rot and it really doesn't help when you're captain is disappearing off to India.
Hopefully Pietersen's bravado and out-and-out genius can rub off on the rest of the Hampshire team and can kick-start their season.
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At the moment they are finding it hard but they have the players to get them back on track.
They have a lot of talent at the Rose Bowl: Shane Bond is one of the most incisive opening bowlers that world cricket has to offer and he was in good form against Sussex in their opening county championship game.
Chris Tremlett can hopefully remain fit and play a big part. They have the experience of John Crawley in the middle order, and Michael Carberry is an exciting player at the top of the order.
But they just haven't put it all together yet which is what I would imagine the management would have feared through the winter as the team are now under pressure.
Kevin Pietersen is scheduled to play against Gloucestershire in the FP Trophy on Sunday, which we will be covering live on Sky Sports.
Since signing for Hampshire from Notts in 2005 Pietersen has only made six first-class appearances and has played just 15 one-day matches, due to his England commitments.
So it's a big fillip to have him for the next couple of matches before he presumably takes his place in the England team for the first Test of the summer in a couple of weeks time.
Hopefully his bravado and out-and-out genius can rub off on the rest and can kick-start their season.
Amongst the hysteria of Twenty20 cricket I still believe the FP Trophy is a respected and worthy competition; let's not forget that international one-day cricket is, for the moment anyway, still played over 50 overs.
The talk at the moment is about Twenty20 dominating the game but no one knows how that will go at the moment.
My Sky Sports colleague Michael Atherton sees Twenty20 as the ideal vehicle for the administrators to just change things and make the game a bit more exciting by condensing everything.
As it stands at the moment the rule changes made for this season's FP Trophy - with powerplays and mandatory ball changes at the start of the 35th over - have been implemented to align the competition to the international game.
In my view county cricket is about providing players for England and so you have to play the same regulations as at international level.
The only problem with the FP is that it is played at the start of the season where the weather is always an issue.
So I do think the FP is a good competition - we had a great finish to our first live match, Durham v Yorkshire, and when you can get that sort of drama played out over 100 overs of cricket, it's very entertaining - there's more subtlety to the diet of Twenty20 which is crash, bang, wallop.
Fifty-over cricket has its detractors, primarily because of the way recent World Cups and Champions' Trophies have been run, they have been drawn-out, long-winded affairs that have gone on too long.
If that can be condensed a little that will make those tournaments more exciting and I believe 50-over cricket will have its place.
No one yet knows how Twenty20 cricket will affect one-day or Test cricket but as it stands at the moment England play 50-over ODI's so therefore the FP Trophy is a vital competition.
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Christopher Robinson says...
Agree with Sarah that it was odd that the County should appoint Dimi Maskarenhas as Captain when he was off to India to play in the IPL. Surely you need someone who is going to devote full time energy to improving, assisting and encouraging the younger players, rather than swanning off to India.
Posted 12:45 6th May 2008
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