Western Australia sign Birt, Cameron, Rimmington
Western Australia have launched an off-season raid on the eastern states, having added Nathan Rimmington, Travis Birt and Mark Cameron to their squad for 2011-12. The move is not about youth - the three men are aged 28, 29 and 30 respectively - but filling specific gaps that the Warriors coach Mickey Arthur outlined last month in an interview with ESPNcricinfo.
Arthur wanted a fast bowler to boost the attack and settled on Cameron, from New South Wales, along with Rimmington, from Queensland. Cameron played for Australia A last summer but injuries have limited him to 16 first-class appearances in nine seasons, and with the younger Patrick Cummins and Mitchell Starc competing for positions, he faced a challenge to hold his spot with the Blues.
Rimmington has been a solid performer for the Bulls, but was viewed as more of a limited-overs specialist and had managed only nine first-class games in six seasons at Queensland. Arthur said the two men would add plenty to a Western Australia attack that had lost the experience of Ashley Noffke and Brett Dorey during the previous summer.
"Nathan brings the ability to bowl at the death in one-day cricket, which is an area where we have been deficient," Arthur said. "He offers a great deal of experience and is a tough character, someone who brings a great deal to the squad.
"Mark bowls with incredible pace, and we have lacked that quality in recent years. He is an outstanding strike bowler and a genuine match winner when he is on the field. It is a fact that Mark has battled injuries in recent seasons, but we will manage his program carefully to ensure we get maximum impact from him when he takes the field next summer."
Arthur also spoke last month of searching for a wicketkeeper-batsman, and while Birt is far from a full-time gloveman, he has stepped into the role at times for Tasmania in the past few seasons. He is another man whose first-class chances have been limited recently - he played five Sheffield Shield games last season - but he has also played three Twenty20s for Australia.
"In Travis we have filled a position available for an experienced batsman," Arthur said. "He is an exceptional one-day player and also has a good track record in first-class cricket. He will add depth to our batting and create healthy competition for spots in the top six."
Birt and Rimmington have each signed on for two years, while the older Cameron has settled for a one-year deal. Meanwhile, Tasmania have secured the fast bowler Jackson Bird, 24, a Sydney grade cricketer who couldn't force his way into the New South Wales side. All six states are finalising their playing lists for 2011-12, with full squads expected to be released in the next few weeks.