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Fidel Edwards misses county season, awarded Hampshire testimonial

Edwards among several Kolpaks unable to reach UK due to pandemic

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Fidel Edwards looks to have played his last game for Hampshire  •  Getty Images

Fidel Edwards looks to have played his last game for Hampshire  •  Getty Images

Fidel Edwards will miss the 2020 county season and has been awarded a testimonial as he looks to have played his last competitive game for Hampshire.
Edwards, the 38-year-old fast bowler, signed Kolpak terms with Hampshire in 2015 and has played 81 times for them across formats. He has been a key part of their County Championship attack, still finding good pace late in his career and was part of the squad that won the Royal London Cup in 2018.
He has been in Barbados throughout the lockdown. With international travel and visa arrangements difficult on account of the Covid-19 pandemic, he came to a mutual decision with the club to end his contract. He will play for Jamaica Tallawahs in next month's CPL.
With Kolpak registrations set to be cancelled from the end of this year, Edwards would have to re-sign as an overseas player for Hampshire, but prospects of that are minimal since Kyle Abbott's contract contains a clause stipulating that he will automatically move to an overseas deal. As a result, Edwards has been awarded a testimonial, which is due to take place at some point next summer.
"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," Edwards said. "I want to thank all my team-mates and the staff at the club who have made me feel so welcome and of the 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."
Giles White, Hampshire's director of cricket, said: ''Circumstances have conspired against a return for Fidel and sadly, it may be that he has played his last game for the club. 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.''
Limits on international travel have caused significant problems for counties in the build-up to the start of the Bob Willis Trophy on Saturday, with several high-profile players missing and the majority of overseas deals cancelled or deferred.
Hampshire are also without Abbott and Brad Wheal for their season opener, while Sussex have confirmed that Stiaan van Zyl and David Wiese will not play for them in the competition - though there are hopes Wiese will arrive in time for the Blast.
Alec Stewart, Surrey's director of cricket, has been lobbying his local MP for support in trying to sort out visas for Morne Morkel and Hashim Amla, while Ravi Rampaul will miss Derbyshire's first game of the season. Farhaan Behardien, Durham's Kolpak signing, will miss their first game but the club remain hopeful he will arrive "in the not too distant future".

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98