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Rayner answers Hampshire's spin crisis

Ollie Rayner has a chance to discover some form after losing his Middlesex place to Ravi Patel

George Dobell
George Dobell
Ollie Rayner celebrates after picking up a wicket, England Lions v Afghanistan, Dubai, December 8, 2016

Ollie Rayner celebrates a wicket for England Lions  •  Getty Images

Ollie Rayner has joined Hampshire from Middlesex on a short-term loan deal.
Hampshire are currently without leg-spinner Mason Crane (who has suffered a recurrence of back pain as he recovers from a stress fracture), off-spinner Brad Taylor (who has an ankle injury) and will shortly lose left-arm spinner, Liam Dawson, to England Lions duty.
Off-spinner Rayner - good enough to claim 50 Championship wickets when Middlesex won the Championship in 2016 and win a place in the Lions side - will therefore provide spin-bowling cover for the upcoming Championship matches against Yorkshire (starting on Wednesday) and Lancashire (starting on Monday).
It shows, however, that Rayner has dropped out of the Middlesex first team for the moment. After a trying start to the season - Rayner has claimed four wickets in five Championship matches for Middlesex this season at an average of 64.50 - he has lost his place to the left-arm spinner, Ravi Patel.
The loan deal lasts a month but Middlesex can recall him at any time if their needs change.
"It's great that Angus Fraser and Middlesex have allowed him to come to us and he'll play a part in the next couple of Championship games," Giles White, the Hamphiire director of cricket, said. "He's a good bowler and has done well for Middlesex over the years. He bats and catches well at second slip too so it's a good fit for us."
Hampshire are currently in seventh position in Division One in need of a victory or two to lift them away from relegation fears. Middlesex are seventh in Division Two and struggling to sustain the promotion challenge that most anticipated. Both sides have just the one Championship victory so far this season.
"I'm obviously disappointed to not be featuring in the forthcoming round of Championship matches for Middlesex," Rayner said. "However when one door closes, another one opens, and I've now got a great opportunity to go and play some first eleven cricket with Hampshire."
"As with a lot of loan agreements this is a win-win situation for both Middlesex and Ollie," the club's Director of Cricket, Angus Fraser, said. "Having chosen to pick Ravi Patel ahead of Ollie this week, Ollie was extremely keen to play some first-class cricket, and Hampshire's predicament has allowed this to happen.
"Should Middlesex's situation change we have the right to recall Ollie to the club."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo