County Cricket Round-Up - 14th March
Gloucestershire have completed their overseas line-up for 2013 by signing Australian Dan Christian to partner Michael Klinger in the Friends Life t20. Gloucestershire had been waiting on getting someone to play the whole of the Twenty20 campaign and have found their man in Christian.
“I couldn't be more pleased about signing Dan," Director of Cricket John Bracewell said. "He is a power-hitter and a vicious competitor, as is the nature of the new breed of top T20 players, who want to win every ball. Dan will bat in our top four and can bowl in the middle of an innings and at the death. He is a hugely exciting recruit."
Christian added, "I am excited to be joining Gloucestershire. Having played in 2010 for Hampshire, I have already had a taste of county cricket and I am really looking forward to playing in England again.
“I have two months in India for the IPL prior to joining the club which will be great preparation ahead of the English T20. I look forward to joining John Bracewell, Michael Klinger and the rest of the boys in June and pulling on a Gloucestershire shirt for the first time."
Christian was part of the Brisbane Heat side that won this winter’s Big Bash League in Australia, but will be most familiar to followers of county cricket as the limping batsman that helped Hampshire win the 2010 Friends Life t20 when Somerset, seemingly unaware of the rules surrounding runners, failed to run him out.
Durham are poised to make their first close-season signing of the winter according to ESPNcricinfo. They are in talks to sign Jacques Rudolph, who recently lost his national contract with South Africa.
Financial restraints had originally meant that Durham were unable to add fresh faces to their 2012 squad. However, they have recently agreed a controversial £2.8 million investment deal with Durham County Council after an independent report showed that the club would contribute around £20 million to the local economy in 2013 alone.
Rudolph last played county cricket for Surrey in 2012 and had a long relationship with Yorkshire before that. He lost his place in South Africa’s Test team to Dean Elgar for the third Test against Australia in Perth at the end of November and hasn’t played for them since despite being part of their last two Test squads.
Durham chief executive David Harker has also confirmed that Ian Blackwell has announced his retirement from professional cricket. Blackwell was diagnosed with arthritis in his left shoulder last month.
Harker told BBC Newcastle: “His contract has ended and we wish him well in the future. I understand he’s considering a role as an umpire and I’m sure he’ll be a great one.”
Sussex all-rounder Kirk Wernars will take a year out from cricket in order to return to his family in his native South Africa. The 21 year-old, who signed a one-year contract extension in November, said, "This has not been an overnight decision and has been a very tough one to make. The past two years at Sussex have been a fantastic experience for me, both as a person and a cricketer. I have learnt so much from being here and will take a lot away with me, from every person that I have come into contact with at the club.
"As much as playing cricket for Sussex has been an exciting and happy time for me, there have been parts of my life I have missed, namely being with my family and living in Cape Town. I believe I need to take a break from cricket for a year, during which time I wish to explore wildfire fighting and emergency services. Thereafter I hope to be in a position to have greater clarity about the long-term career I would like to pursue."
"We're really disappointed to lose Kirk both as a cricketer and as a person," Mark Robinson, Sussex's professional cricket manager, said. "As a cricketer, he really made great strides and had every chance of having a really successful summer. And as a person, he was a man of high values and high loyalty. We do though really respect his decision to want to be nearer his family again and we wish him every success, and hope perhaps to see him at some time in the future."
In other news from Sussex, the club have announced that former Warwickshire seam-bowler Andrew Miller will accompany them on their pre-season tour. Miller was released by the county champions at the end of 2012 and is currently on trial at Hove.
© Cricket World 2013
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