County cricket February 18, 2004

Hayward and Klusener join Middlesex

Wisden Cricinfo staff

The South African Test cricketers, Nantie Hayward and Lance Klusener, have signed for Middlesex for the forthcoming season.

Hayward, who is one of the fastest bowlers in the world, had been on Worcestershire's books last season, but was released from a second year of his contract because he couldn't confirm his availability. He will be joining for the entire season.

Meanwhile Klusener, who recently made a successful comeback to South Africa's one-day team after a year-long dispute with the South African board, will be available between May and July because of international commitments and the inaugural South African Twenty20 competition, at which he is sure to excel.

"We have obtained two proven world-class performers," said Middlesex's coach, John Emburey, "and they will both be significant additions to our already talented squad." Middlesex's secretary, Vinny Codrington, was equally pleased at the news. "We're thrilled. They're a fantastic addition," he told BBC Sport. "We're looking to both of them to lead our young guys forward."

Klusener played for Nottinghamshire in 2002, but it is Hayward's decision to move on from Worcestershire that will raise eyebrows, after helping them to promotion last season. "Worcestershire were frustrated that Nantie hadn't confirmed his availability so they decided to pursue other options," said his agent David Ligertwood. "When they heard he was available, Middlesex were very excited and jumped at the opportunity."

Middlesex's overseas players last season were the Australian seamer Ashley Noffke, and Anil Kumble. But Noffke was ruled out with a back problem, while Kumble failed to gain clearance from the Indian cricket board.