County news November 18, 2008

Ian Blackwell signs for Durham

Cricinfo staff

Ian Blackwell still has England ambitions and hopes his move will help him © Getty Images
County Champions Durham have pulled off a major signing by bringing Ian Blackwell, the Somerset allrounder, to Chester-le-Street.

Durham will be Blackwell's third county after he joined Somerset from Derbyshire in 2000. He will strengthen Durham's team in all formats and can slot into a strong middle order. His left-arm spin will be especially valuable as it's the one area Durham are less well stocked.

"I would like to take this opportunity in thanking the Somerset supporters who I will sorely miss," Blackwell told Somerset's website. "Since joining the club they have all given me fantastic support, and a great reception on and off the field."

He added that the move was based on the desire to earn an England recall after playing one Test and 34 ODIs. "Making this cricketing decision has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do," he said. "I hope I am able to utilise my move to Durham so I am able to progress in all formats of the game and push for future England recognition."

Geoff Cook, Durham's head coach, said it was important Durham didn't stand still after their Championship success. "With Durham looking to constantly improve our squad when it became clear Ian was available we grabbed the chance of signing him. I think it's important to sign players of Ian's quality and experience to continue the progress of the squad in all forms of the game."

Chief executive David Harker added: "We were delighted to win the Championship last season but it is important that we learn lessons and continue to add quality players, such as Ian, to the squad when they become available."

Blackwell scored 1006 in the 2008 Championship, including three centuries and a best of 158, supplementing that with 21 wickets at 45.66