Gloucestershire v Lancashire, Bristol, 1st day September 17, 2013

Klinger rejects domestic qualification route

Lancashire 33 for 2 v Gloucestershire
Scorecard

Michael Klinger, the Australian batsman, has turned down an offer to play for Gloucestershire as a domestic-qualified player.

Klinger, 33, is coming to the end of the first season of a two-year contract, currently as Gloucestershire's overseas player, but the club have explored a loophole that could see Klinger qualify with an Hungarian passport.

Klinger's late mother was an Hungarian passport holder and a recent change in Hungarian law would allow him to obtain a passport through that route. The move would see Klinger gain domestic status as a European Union passport holder and allow Gloucestershire to sign another player as their overseas option.

But Klinger has rejected the offer because it would threaten his deal with Big Bash League franchise Adelaide Strikers. Should Klinger become a domestic player in the UK, to play domestic cricket in Australia he would have to be signed as an overseas player. Klinger signed a three-year deal with Adelaide in July 2012.

"We'd be silly if he we didn't explore the option," Gloucestershire's director of cricket, John Bracewell, told ESPNcricinfo. "We are just looking for a loophole and an opportunity to then perhaps reinvest in another overseas. But he is already contracted long term with South Australia in the Big Bash and it's not worth him risking that contract.

"To be fair to him he has that option. We had already signed him for two years as our overseas anyway. So he doesn't need to take that option. It's a no."

For Bracewell, Klinger has "matched expectations and then some" with his outstanding contribution this year. He has made over 2000 runs in all competitions, including four Championship centuries and an average of 87.75 in the Yorkshire Bank 40.

His leadership has also helped revitalise Gloucestershire, who narrowly missed out on qualification for the semi-finals of the YB40 and were not far off the promotion race in the Championship.

Bracewell has challenged his side to win their final two matches and achieve a pre-season target of six Championship victories. But their initial progress against Lancashire was hampered by rain that allowed only 10 overs to be bowled on the opening day in Bristol.

Gloucestershire won the toss under skies that threatened interruption and Will Gidman immediately struck with the wicket of Paul Horton from the final delivery of his opening over. Gidman struck again two overs later, bowling Ashwell Prince for a duck before Luis Reece and Karl Brown settled. Rain arrived around 11.20am and remained steady for several hours. A heavier burst saw the umpires abandon play at 3pm.

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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