19th June, England v South Africa, 09:30 GMT
Yorkshire have begun their preparations for life in Division One of the LV= County Championship by signing former Northamptonshire fast-bowler Jack Brooks on a three-year contract.
Brooks, a current England Lions seamer, took advantage of a get-out clause in his Northamptonshire contract at the end of the 2012 season which allowed him to request an early release if Northamptonshire did not get promoted to the first division of the LV= County Championship.
Brooks said of his decision to join Yorkshire: "I’m absolutely elated to be joining Yorkshire who are one of the biggest clubs in the country. They’ve shown a lot of interest in me over the last couple of years and it was ultimately too difficult to turn down. I want to be part of a successful young side that has been built at Headingley. Yorkshire enjoyed great success in 2012 and will certainly be challenging again next summer.”
“I want to improve as a cricketer and believe that Yorkshire can help me do that. I’ve been at Northamptonshire for four enjoyable seasons and they have been excellent with me. I joined them from the amateur game, have left behind some very good friends there, and wish them all the best in the future. This move has been a cricket decision. I want to further my England aspirations and am really looking forward to the challenges ahead.”
Brooks endured a disappointing and injury-hit 2012 season, taking just 33 wickets from 19 matches despite taking five-wicket hauls in his first two games, but had established himself as one of England's rising stars during the preceding three seasons. His record in first-class cricket to date reads 118 wickets at an average of 28.95.
He was a late developer in cricketing terms and did not make his county debut until 2009 after impressing in Minor Counties cricket for Oxfordshire. Northamptonshire signed him after he impressed while playing for their second eleven.
Martyn Moxon, Director of Cricket at Yorkshire - who narrowly lost out to Middlesex in the battle to sign former Glamorgan all-rounder James Harris - added, “We are really pleased to have acquired Jack’s services. We’ve been looking to strengthen our squad to challenge in the First Division of the LV= County Championship in 2013 and believe that Jack brings a great deal of quality to our existing seam attack.”
Gloucestershire have signed two more of their Academy graduates on professional contracts. All-rounder Craig Miles has signed a two-year deal, while left-arm seamer Matt Taylor has signed a deal similar to that which wicket-keeper Cameron Herring agreed last week, in that the first year will be a scholarship contract before a two-year professional deal kicks in for 2014.
Gloucestershire academy director Owen Dawkins summed up the attributes which he hopes Miles and Taylor will bring, saying, “Craig Miles played his first second XI game for us at the age of 14. He has developed well as a bowling all-rounder and will spend this winter working with our strength and conditioning coach Chris Bodman.
“Matt Taylor has the ability to bowl a nagging line and length while moving the ball around. He has also been with us a number of years and it is great to see so many young players graduating from the academy to the professional ranks.”
In other news, the club's Director of Cricket, John Bracewell, has indicated that he would like to re-sign Australian batsmen Ed Cowan as their main overseas player for 2013, but has said that Muttiah Muralitharan will not be returning to fill the role of overseas player for the Twenty20 tournament.
Leicestershire have signed injury-hit former Middlesex fast-bowler Robbie Williams on a one-year contract for the 2013 season. The 25 year-old was released by Middlesex before the end of last season and spent the remainder of it on trial at Grace Road. He made his Middlesex debut in 2007, but has been restricted to only nine first-class games, mainly due to injury.
Sussex have released Pakistan-born left-arm seamer Naved Arif Gondal after two season on their staff. The 30 year-old took 19 wickets for Sussex last season in all first-team cricket, but did not play after mid-July as the likes of Lewis Hatchett took his place.
Sussex manager, Mark Robinson, thanked Naved for his efforts for the club, saying, "It is always sad when any player leaves us and it is no different with Naved. We would like to thanks him for his whole-hearted contribution."
© Cricket World 2012
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