Firstteam director Adrian Birrell believes Hampshire will struggle for honours this year, whether or not they sign a replacement for Dimuth Karunaratne.

The opener signed for Hampshire last month later contributing Sri Lanka to a surprise Test series victory over South Africa because standin skipper.

He is currently being considered for the captain’s character at the worldcup.

Birrell told BBC Radio Solent that the club are seeking a replacement.

“There’s some actions behind the scenes and there are some players available, however you will find a lot of unknowns because no body has ever selected their World Cup squad yet, so we’ve got to work with a few players that aren’t in fact,” he explained.

Karunaratne was asked to stay in Sri Lanka to perform within their national 50-over contest, before the World Cup begins in might.

“We have lost a top quality individual having a great deal of struggle and determination,” added Birrell. “These are all of the qualities that we all desire in our own installation to play with apocalyptic cricket, so it’s a bit of a blow, however we will likely sign yet another professional in his place.

“Having said this, we’ve got a good group of players and part of me is saying that we can struggle without an alternative. I have full faith in the players we have and if we do get some one in afterward it’s really a bit of a bonus”

Former Ireland trainer Birrell, who’s substituted former England all rounder Craig White at Hampshire, was high in praise for the 30-year-old after his exploits in South Africa.

He explained:”He did superbly well with Sri Lanka. You would have good odds on Sri Lanka beating South Africa and also he was the captain.

“You have got to doff your cap to him to get that which he’s achieved with his team and it’s simply wonderful to view.

“It is great for cricket and by all reports he is likely to be from the World Cup so that we wish him well and just say a enormous congratulations.”

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