Henry joins Worcs for first half of season
Worcestershire have signed Matt Henry, the New Zealand fast bowler, for the first half of the 2016 season. Henry will fill the overseas role from April until the end of June, when South Africa's Kyle Abbott is due to arrive.
Henry's combination of pace and swing ought to be potent in English conditions, as Worcestershire look to secure yet another promotion back to Division One of the Championship. Last season, Jack Shantry, Jack Leach and Charlie Morris took more than 150 wickets between them but there was little seam-bowling support and Saeed Ajmal, back with a remodelled action, was unable to replicate his previous success.
Henry caught the eye of Steve Rhodes, Worcestershire's director of cricket, when New Zealand played a tour match at New Road in 2015, with the 24-year-old taking 5 for 129 in a 15-run win.
"Worcestershire have had strong links with New Zealand cricket going back to when Glenn Turner played for them for many seasons and more recently with Colin Munro and Mitchell McClenaghan and I am looking forward to playing for them," Henry said.
"They showed their quality in the tour game when pushing New Zealand all the way last summer and clearly have an exciting crop of young players who came so close to staying in Division One of the County Championship.
"I hope I can play my part in getting them off to a good start in trying to regain that Division One spot - as well as having another successful run in the NatWest T20 Blast - and experiencing county cricket will be good for my all-round development as a player."
Henry has played three Tests, 20 ODIs and four T20s for his country. His most impressive performances have come in the 50-over format where, despite the competition for places in New Zealand's seam attack, he has taken 41 wickets at 21.60 - including 13 in three matches during the recently completed series against Sri Lanka - and also played in the 2015 World Cup semi-final and final.
In first-class cricket, he has taken 100 wickets in 26 appearances - the majority for Canterbury - at an average of 27.05. Henry also won an IPL contract in 2014 but has yet to play for his team, Chennai Super Kings.
Rhodes said: "Matt Henry is a fine young bowler who has represented New Zealand in all formats. He also was trusted with both a World Cup semi-final and a final spot and his bowling early season will be huge asset to the Club. I am delighted he will lead our attack and join our current crop of terrific young seam bowlers."