Hampshire have secured the services of in-demand fast-bowler David Balcombe until the end of the 2014 season.
The 26-year-old had been struggling for a first-team place at The Rose Bowl, partly due to injury, but an end-of-season loan spell with Kent appears to have reinvigorated his career. He took 40 wickets during his two-month sojourn at the St Lawrence Ground and was so successful that Kent were understood to be interested in signing him on a permanent basis.
However, Hampshire moved fast and began talks with the former Durham University student before the season had finished - talks which ultimately appear to have been successful.
Hampshire’s manager, Giles White, said of the news, “David's signature is an important one for the club as he adds to a growing nucleus of players that are likely to form the core of the team for a few years to come. His recent development has been encouraging; he possesses a good work ethic, and has all the credentials to be a match winner. He's an integral part of the squad.”
Balcombe himself paid tribute to his time at Kent, saying, “Last season I went on loan to Kent for the final two months of the season and it really gave me a fantastic opportunity to show my capabilities in county cricket and kick-start my career.”
In other county news, Leicestershire have confirmed the arrival of Ben Smith as their new batting coach for the 2012 season.
The 39-year-old has a long association with the county, having come through their youth system before going on to score over 8,000 first-class runs for the club, and said of the announcement:
“I am delighted to take this opportunity to become the batting coach at Leicestershire and to be involved with the ongoing development of a very talented group of players, as well as working alongside the other coaches and members of staff at the club. I have very fond memories of playing cricket at Grace Road as both a junior and double Championship winning capped player so to return and be able to give something back to the players and the club in a coaching capacity is very exciting”.
Following the conclusion of his playing career at Grace Road, Smith went on to serve Worcestershire for nine seasons and scored over 10,000 first-class runs for them in the process. He retired in 2010 and took up the position of Assistant Coach at New Road.
However, Leicestershire chief executive Mike Siddall was more than happy to welcome back the right-hander and said, “We are delighted to see Ben returning to Leicestershire in this important role. He has a great Leicestershire pedigree and his experience will be vital in helping our batsmen develop.”
© Cricket World 2011