Tasmania sign Andy Blignaut
Andy Blignaut has announced he is determined to "give it my all" over the next three summers with Tasmania, after becoming the second of Zimbabwe's 15 unwanted white players to sign with an Australian state.
Blignaut will arrive in August to begin a three-year contract with Tasmania. David Johnston, chief executive officer of the Tasmanian Cricket Association, said Australian selection was not out of the question for the combative allrounder.
"There's a lot of water to go under the bridge before that all occurs, but there is some thought that he would like to do that," said Johnston.
Blignaut is viewed by some, with a certain amount of wishful thinking, as the perfect replacement for Shane Watson who has moved home to Queensland. Watson is a genuine No. 4 at Pura Cup level; Blignaut's main asset, by contrast, is his feisty pace bowling. His aggressive lower-order strokeplay can be considered a bonus. "I think he goes part of the way to replacing Watson," was Johnston's verdict.
He remained coy about whether or not Tasmania would succeed in persuading Michael Bevan to move south from New South Wales. Bevan recently lost his Cricket Australia contract and a lucrative switch to Tasmania would make up for part of the drop in income.
"We have been talking for two or three weeks now, so we are getting fairly close to the end of it," said Johnston. "We are hoping to hear something from Michael's management company in the next few days."
Michael Slater is also reportedly reconsidering his options with NSW. He played only three Pura Cup games last summer because of illness and is believed to be unhappy with the deal NSW have offered him. He could potentially give up on his playing career altogether and move permanently into the commentary box.
Blignaut, who has taken 51 wickets and averages 24 with the bat in his 15 Tests, is one of four Zimbabweans expected to play in the Pura Cup this summer. Andy Flower is playing for South Australia and Murray Goodwin and Sean Ervine for Western Australia.