New Zealand international fast bowler Iain O'Brien has been confirmed as Middlesex's overseas player for the 2010 season.
O'Brien, who has just announced his retirement from international cricket, starred in New Zealand's recent 32-run win over Pakistan in their first Test in Dunedin.
Angus Fraser, Middlesex Managing Director of Cricket said: “It became clear in 2009 that Middlesex CCC needed to find fast bowling support for Tim Murtagh and Steven Finn, who manfully carried the team’s attack last summer. Selecting a fast bowler as an overseas player was the obvious way of filling one of these positions, and it is why Murali Kartik, Middlesex’s official overseas player for the past three seasons, was not offered a new contract.
"Finding an overseas fast bowler who is available for most, if not all of a season is a huge thing for me. Most international fast bowlers tend only to be available for short periods of time, and on occasions their workload is closely monitored by their home board. This predicament will have led counties to question whether the investment was actually worthwhile.
"Ideally, I want an overseas player to become an integral part of the club structure, to join in with everything and feel part of the club as it moves forward. I was not keen on someone who briefly flits in and then disappears elsewhere. Iain has the potential to fulfil this requirement.
"Iain was identified during the 2009 season as a fine bowler and man. He has a good Test record and bowled extremely well against Middlesex CCC in the LVCC match at Leicester where he took nine wickets. His qualities as a person have been vouched for by everyone I have spoken to and I am delighted he has chosen to play at Lord’s in 2010.
"I watched Iain on a number of occasions during England’s 2007/08 tour of New Zealand, and chatted to him on a couple of occasions. During our chats he informed me that he was an into the wind bowler in Wellington, a city I spent two winters playing club cricket in when I was young. The admission impressed me because, knowing Wellington and its wind as I do, I immediately knew Iain was a determined, wholehearted cricketer. So strong is the wind in Wellington, that if you don’t show those qualities you will not reach the wickets.
"Iain showed real determination and bowled beautifully during New Zealand’s recent Test win over Pakistan in Dunedin and there is no reason to believe he will not continue to perform as well for Middlesex CCC.”
© Cricket World 2009