County news October 21, 2008

Noffke joins Worcestershire for 2009

Cricinfo staff

Ashley Noffke has been in wonderful form with bat and ball and will spend 2009 with Worcestershire © Getty Images

Ashley Noffke, the Queensland fast bowler, has signed with Worcestershire as their overseas player for the 2009 season. Noffke, 31, will take up the role that was held this year by his fellow Australian seamer Steve Magoffin and then by the Sri Lanka fast man Dilhara Fernando.

A Cricket Australia-contracted player, Noffke toured the West Indies with Australia's Test squad this year but was overlooked for the current trip to India. If his outstanding form holds up he will be in consideration for the 2009 Ashes squad and, if not selected, basing himself in England could make him the perfect candidate for any late call ups.

Over the past two years Noffke has developed from a strong fast bowler into a dangerous allrounder. Last season he was not only Queensland's leading Pura Cup wicket taker by a huge margin with 43 at 21.25, he was also their leading run scorer with 686 runs at 45.73 including one century and five fifties, and he was named Australia's State Player of the Year.

He also picked up eight wickets in a tour match against Sri Lanka, which tipped his tally to the point where he became only the third Australian to complete the first-class double of 50 wickets and 500 runs in a home season. Steve Rhodes, Worcestershire's director of cricket, said Noffke was a vital part of the side's 2009 plans.

"I am delighted that we have secured a player of Ashley's quality," Rhodes said. "His all-round game is proven in both Australia and England. He has a wealth of experience which will be a huge benefit to our younger players. He still has a desire to play for Australia again and Worcestershire can only benefit from this."

Noffke made his ODI and Twenty20 international debuts during 2007-08. He has had previous county stints with Durham, Gloucestershire and Middlesex and he said he was pleased to be part of a squad that could challenge for silverware having been promoted to Division One.

"From my conversations with Steve Rhodes, I am certain I can play a big role in what I expect to be a successful season," Noffke said. "I can't wait to join up with Steve and the rest of the squad in April."