Gloucestershire v Lancashire, Bristol, 1st day

Klinger rejects domestic qualification route

Alex Winter in Bristol

September 17, 2013

Comments: 9 | Text size: A | A

Lancashire 33 for 2 v Gloucestershire

Michael Klinger struck nine fours and a six, Gloucestershire v Kent, County Championship, Division Two, Cheltenham, 3rd day, July, 12, 2013
Michael Klinger has scored more than 2000 runs in all competitions for Gloucestershire © Getty Images

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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Posted by shillingsworth on (September 18, 2013, 9:32 GMT)

@siltbreeze - I wasn't making a moral point, just a practical one - look at the results. You could query the local credentials of some of the current side (although country of birth doesn't tell the full story and the likes of Benkenstein, Breese and Thorp aren't part of the first choice team any more) but they would be rather stronger than an Australian with a Hungarian passport. The article is probably overplaying the story on a slow news day but it just seemed a rather stark contrast.

@thebolivian - Agree entirely, but I wasn't actually referring to Lancashire.

Posted by siltbreeze on (September 18, 2013, 8:58 GMT)

@ clarke501 - I don't think any county has the moral high ground on this issue. Durham are a wonderful cohesive unit who produce great local talent, but...Claydon and Thorp born in Aus, Jennings and Richardson born in South Africa, Benkenstein born in Zim, Stokes born in NZ, Breese born in Jamaica, and none playing as overseas.

Posted by thebolivian on (September 18, 2013, 8:28 GMT)


Yes because Lancashire are such beacons of home grown players when they themselves have Ashwell Prince playing for them as non overseas plus having just signed Kyle Jarvis on domestic terms.

Posted by shillingsworth on (September 18, 2013, 8:09 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer - Durham's financial position isn't great either, to the extent they decided against signing an overseas player. Like Gloucestershire, they are based in a major population centre and have shown that the local players are there. It's not a quick route to success but it has to be better than finding clever wheezes to cram more foreign players into your side.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (September 17, 2013, 19:23 GMT)

@clarke501 I very much doubt that Gloucestershire would have the money to sign a decent overseas player anyway. It's the reason why they have been playing a squad of young home-grown players: they couldn't even afford to hang on to their home-grown stars.

Rather than cheap shots after reading the headline, do check the facts next time. At one point the side was looking at playing amateurs to make up the numbers because resources are so thin.

Posted by shillingsworth on (September 17, 2013, 17:55 GMT)

One team win the title with a team of home grown players whilst another busy themselves investigating Hungarian passport regulations.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (September 17, 2013, 17:44 GMT)

Yet another impressive performance from Will Gidman. He really should be in the Lions tour party.

Promotion is still just about possible with two wins. Beating Lancashire is a huge ask but, why not? After the wooden spoon last season just going into the last round with a mathematical chance of promotion would be amazing.

And yes, Michael Klinger is absolutely right. He's been a superb find, but we do not need to twist his arm that way.

Posted by SDHM on (September 17, 2013, 17:16 GMT)

I thought Australia had tweaked their laws recently to stop this sort of thing happening?

Posted by   on (September 17, 2013, 17:12 GMT)

Why doesn't Australia pick him...

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