County news December 18, 2012

Gloucs bring in Klinger as captain


Gloucestershire have ended their search for a new captain by agreeing terms with Michael Klinger, the experienced Australian top-order batsman, who will be available for the entire 2013 season.

Last season Gloucestershire finished bottom of the County Championship for the ninth time in their history, prompting Alex Gidman to step down.

With very little experience on their playing staff, the county looked overseas for a new appointment and were keen to find a player available for the entire season - ruling out both New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson and Australia opener Ed Cowan, who were both initial targets following previous stints at the club.

Klinger's availability, experience and ability are a rare combination. He has enjoyed a successful career since moving to South Australia from Victoria in 2008. A mediocre average of 26.44 since his debut in 2000 prompted a move away from his home state and he has since averaged 47.37 with eight centuries in four seasons.

His first season in Adelaide brought 1,203 runs at 70.76 and a second year of excellent returns saw Klinger made captain for the 2010/11 season, during which his form nosedived and South Australia finished bottom of the Sheffield Shield. His form returned last summer, bringing 835 runs at 46.38, but another wooden spoon, and a failure to win a single match, saw Klinger removed as captain.

Nevertheless, Gloucestershire's director of cricket John Bracewell said he was "delighted to be signing a player of Michael's quality and experience".

"He has proved himself adept at all forms of the game and has captaincy experience," Bracewell said. "We expect him to be available throughout the 2013 season. It is not easy to find overseas players who tick all those boxes and a lot of work has gone into finding the right man."

Klinger, 32, will be tasked with leading a young, inexperienced side with the county in a period of rebuilding on and off the pitch - Bristol is currently in the first phase of a £10 million redevelopment. He tasted the County Championship last season, playing seven matches for Worcestershire, scoring 413 runs including a century.

His top-order experience will be very welcome for a county that failed to nail down a consistent opening pair last season, using six combinations. Young wicketkeeper Richard Coughtrie found little success, Chris Dent - a player with much potential - missed most of the season with a finger and then a shoulder injury - trialist-turned-new signing Benny Howell failed to live up to early promise, veteran Jon Batty was restored to open the innings for one match and brief overseas signings Cowan and Rob Nicol came and went.

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  • Mark on December 21, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    Sounds like Gloucestershire have got themselves a pretty good signing here. However, success in the Big Bash does not necessarily mean success on a freezing morning at a deserted outground in the Mumbles! He has to nuture a bunch of youngsters and inspire them to success in the 4-day game. That's not so easy. Plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the team if the captain can inspire them.

  • Darren on December 20, 2012, 22:19 GMT

    @clarke501- Recruiting Australian State cricketer of the year 2 years running is a mediocre player? Klinger as a former Australian under 19 captain has never been given a chance from the beginning of his career and its a shame Australia never gave him the opportunity at higher levels which he has earned and deserved. 60 in the T20 last night on a terrible pitch showed the class of this talented cricketer.

  • Darren on December 19, 2012, 22:20 GMT

    @200ondebut- What an ignorant comment. Cricket doesn't need supporters like you. Hope you enjoy eating your words. The same type of ignorance was said when Klinger first captained South Australia and led them to their first one day trophy win in 15 years. So I suppose being the leading run scorer and top average in the worlds most elite state tournament is not class. I think your debut on this blog is a diamond duck.

  • Cricinfouser on December 19, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    Strange that he gets a visa - under the new rules, cricketers from outside the EU need to have played tests, ODIs or international T20s in the recent past or be centrally contracted. Disappointing that rules put in place to ensure a minimum standard for overseas players appear to have been circumvented.

  • Cricinfouser on December 19, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    In the 70s, 80s and 90s, the overseas players in English county cricket were indeed world class. Now that players of this quality are no longer available, what is the point in counties competing with each other to recruit essentially mediocre cricketers?

  • Mark on December 19, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    After two seasons of just missing promotion last season was a little misleading as wins for teams around them on the last day of the season pushed them down to a rather undeserved bottom spot. With so little money in the kitty it is a surprise that Gloucestershire have found a good foreign pro. There are plenty of young and talented players in the team and, with a bit of fortune they could be close to the promotion spots again next season.

  • Robert on December 19, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    I guess this is a perfect fit for a poor second division side - Klinger is well matched. I guess the lowly standing of Gls mean they could no longer attract New Zealanders so plumped for an Aussie instead.

  • Darren on December 19, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    @jonesy2 - Klinger is all class. Check your facts. State cricketer of the year 2 years in a row and an average of over 40 in the last 3 years. Consistent performances in all forms of the game and in the top 3 of all forms in runs scored per season for 3 years running. Gloucestershire have made a terrific appointment here with a player that has deserved higher honors for Australia.

  • Tom on December 19, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    @jonesy2, Wow, a first class average of 37 is classed as world class, just shows how far Australian cricket and its fans have fallen in to mediocrity. As a captain he hasn't won a first class game, so that makes him world class again? He may prove to be a good signing for Gloucestershire, but world class, never.

  • Peter on December 19, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    Good luck to him & Gloucestershire.

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