County Cricket Round-Up - 1st November
Hampshire have extended the contract of wicket-keeper Michael Bates for a further two seasons.
The 22 year-old is widely renowned as the best young gloveman on the county circuit, but his batting is known to have caused the club concern, leading to speculation that they were looking to sign James Foster from Essex at the end of the 2011 season. However, fortunately for Bates, that deal never materialised and he had a chance to improve his batting last season, culminating in a maiden first-class century against Yorkshire in May. He did, however, struggle after that and ended with an uninspiring first-class average of 23.04, indicating that his batting needs continued work.
His wicket-keeping ability, though, has never been in doubt and he equalled the ground record for catches in an innings at Southampton, taking six against Gloucestershire, as well as ending with the joint-leading number of first-class dismissals in the country with 52.
“I am delighted to have been offered a further two years at Hampshire," said Bates. "It's a brilliant place to play cricket and I'm thoroughly looking forward to being part of an exciting future."
Bates, who has also played for England Under-19s, made his debut for Hampshire in 2010 and played for them for the second half of both the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He became their first choice wicket-keeper last season following the departure of Nic Pothas.
Iain Wardlaw has signed a new two-year contract with Yorkshire after impressing the club since signing mid-way through the 2011 campaign off the back of his performances for Cleckheaton in the Bradford League.
The 27 year-old is still yet to establish himself as a regular part of Yorkshire’s first-string bowling attack - a task that is likely to be even more difficult in 2013 following the signings of Jack Brooks and Liam Plunkett - although he did impress in the recent Champions League T20 when drafted in as injury cover for the final two matches.
Wardlaw is also one of a batch of current county cricketers to be affected by new qualification criteria which means that they are now eligible to play for Scotland. He now qualifies to play for them as a result of his Scottish father.
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