Monday 6 October 2008 

New Contracts For Yorkshire Pair Rafiq And Ballance

The Yorkshire County Cricket Club is pleased to announce that two Academy players, Azeem Rafiq and Gary Ballance, have signed their first professional contracts with the Club.

The three-year Junior Professional contracts mean that both players are committed to the Club until 30th September 2011. The commitment of two talented young players is great news for the Club and for its future.

Gary Ballance, 18, made six appearances for the Yorkshire 2nd XI in 2008 and made his first team debut away at Kent in July. His nine innings included two 50s, a highest score of 61 and an average of 31.42.

Azeem Rafiq, 17, has had a strong season for the Yorkshire 2nd XI bursting onto the scene with figures of 16 – 2 – 51 – 5 on debut against Lancashire 2nd XI. He finished the season with ten wickets at an average of 31.20 and was awarded Academy Player of the Year for 2008.

Stewart Regan, Chief Executive said, "Gary and Azeem are both exciting young players and we are delighted that they have signed their first professional contracts with The Yorkshire County Cricket Club. They are committing themselves to the club at an exciting stage of our development with much activity taking place both on and off the pitch.

"With the new Carnegie Pavilion planned for 2010, an exciting Twenty20 League commencing in the same year and a commitment from both Yorkshire and the ECB to develop home-grown talent, there is much for them to look forward to. We all wish them every success in their professional careers. Their parents, like us, will be very proud indeed."

© Yorkshire CCC