MARTIN Miller says fringe players must take the chance to prove themselves when threadbare Bournemouth host Basingstoke & North Hants on Saturday (1pm).
The Chapel Gate outfit are missing no fewer than six players for the Southern Premier League Division One clash, potentially their first home game of the year if the fixture beats the weather.
Bowlers Shambeel Chaudhry and Pete Smith are both sidelined with knee injuries and a handful of unavailable players have added to the hosts’ woes.
However, Matt Mixer is set to plug the opening bowler gap with his seasonal bow, while 2013 first team regulars Anshuman Singh and Curtis Watton are also set to be drafted in.
Captain Miller told the Daily Echo: “It’s unfortunate but it happens and we’ll just have to deal with it like we have in previous years.
“We can only put the XI out that we’ve got available and do the best that we can, and it means there are opportunities for the guys on the fringes of the team to stake a claim for a permanent position.
“Matt’s only available for this week but that actually suits me fine because it fills a hole. When you lose one bowler you want to be able to turn to someone with quality and experience to come in.
“I think Basingstoke are favourites for the league this year. They have beaten Sarisbury and are bound to give us a tough game.
“I would have liked very much to have had a full side available to play them but it’s still early in the season for all sides and no one has hit any form yet.”
Bournemouth still only have one league match under their belt after wet weather wreaked havoc with the early-season programme. And Miller admits that a lack of games has made selection difficult.
He said: “We have a lot of people to choose from but we haven’t had many matches to see people perform, so we’re still picking based on what they could potentially do rather than what they have done.
"It’s not easy in that respect but we’re not the only team in that situation – I know others are as well.”
Bournemouth: (from) Miller, Bridgen, Schmulian, Matthews, Russell, Kitson, G Singh, Watton, Cronje, A Singh, Mixer.