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Middlesex have fought off competition from several first-class counties, including Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, to secure the signature of former Glamorgan all-rounder James Harris on a three-year deal. Harris barely featured for Glamorgan last season due to injury and England Lions duty, taking 25 wickets at an average of 36.64 in all first-team cricket in 2012.
The 22 year-old exercised a get-out clause in his Glamorgan contract towards the end of the season which enabled him to join another county if Glamorgan did not get promoted to Division One of the LV= County Championship. They finished sixth in Division Two.
Glamorgan made Harris " a substantial offer" to try to temp him to stay but the county have a poor record of developing potential England players, leaving Harris to reach the conclusion that he must leave the club for whom he made his second XI debut at the age of 14 and his first-class debut at the age of 17 and for whom he has taken more than 200 wickets.
Outlining the reason that he chose Middlesex from his long list of suitors, Harris said, "I've always enjoyed playing at the 'Home of Cricket' but a major factor in my decision to choose Middlesex was the coaching set up and in particular to learn as much as I can from people such as Angus Fraser, Richard Scott and Richard Johnson"
Middlesex Director of Cricket Angus Fraser spoke glowingly of Harris, saying, "From my meetings with him he is a very mature and decent young man. James knows what he wants and we will work hard to help him and the rest of the squad to fulfil their ambitions with Middlesex.
"James will add skill and quality to our attack. His record to date is excellent and he will only get better. I am sure the pitches at Lord's, where he claimed eight for 118 against Middlesex in 2011, will suit his bowling more than those in Cardiff. He can bat too, which is extremely useful.
"We are all looking forward to working with James and we hope his presence will help Middlesex push even harder for domestic trophies over the coming years."
County Cricket News In Brief:
Middlesex's capture of one out-of-contract England Lions seamer means that the other, Jack Brooks, is likely to become even hotter property. Yorkshire have emerged as the favourites to sign the ex-Northamptonshire man, who also exercised a get-out clause in his contract, with Nottinghamshire and Sussex other possible destinations.
Kent have taken the unusual step of announcing that they have signed the bulk of their expected 2013 playing squad on new contracts. The list of players to have signed new deals contains 20 names, including those of Geraint Jones, Darren Stevens, Ben Harmison and Brendan Nash.
Surrey have confirmed that they have parted ways with former captain Rory Hamilton-Brown at the request of the 25 year-old who has still not come to terms with the mid-season death of his close friend and flat-mate Tom Maynard. Somerset have been linked with his signature but he may yet decide to take a year off from professional cricket. Hamilton-Brown's stand-in as Surrey captain for the latter half of 2012, Gareth Batty, has signed a new two-year deal with the club.
Lancashire have signed four Academy graduates on maiden professional contracts. Wicket-keeper Alex Davies, who made his first-team debut at the end of the 2012 season, is joined on the staff at Old Trafford by fast-bowler Gavin Griffiths, off-spinner Arron Lilley and former Unicorns and Leeds/Bradford MCCU all-rounder Luis Reece.
Warwickshire have released seam-bowler Andy Miller after seven years on their staff. The 25 year-old is understood to be keen to pursue a career in the game and is actively looking for a new county for 2013.
Glamorgan have signed batsman Stewart Walters on a new one-year deal, meaning that he will stay with them until at least the end of the 2014 season. In other news, the Welsh county have decided not to offer new contracts to seam-bowler Chris Ashling and all-rounders Mike O'Shea and Aneurin Norman.
Gloucestershire have signed two young wicket-keepers to replace Jon Batty, who recently announced his retirement from the professional game. South Africa-born Gareth Roderick has signed a two-year deal following an impressive season for Cheltenham in the West of England Premier League, while 17 year-old Cameron Herring will be on the staff for the next three seasons following a year in the club's Academy.
Former Lancashire batsman Harry Pilling has died at the age of 69. Pilling, described by Jonathan Agnew as "an integral member of Lancashire's brilliant one-day team of the 1970s", scored almost 20,000 runs for Lancashire over the course of more than 500 first-team games.
© Cricket World 2012
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