County news January 29, 2010

McKenzie signs Kolpak deal with Hampshire

Cricinfo staff

Neil McKenzie, the South African top-order batsman, will be joining Hampshire as a Kolpak player this summer. McKenzie will link up with the squad on April 4 and, as he is out of the frame as a national player, will be available for the whole season.

McKenzie, who captains the Highveld Lions in South Africa, will bring further international experience to an exciting squad which already contains Kabir Ali, Simon Jones, Shahid Afridi and Ajantha Mendis. "I'm really looking forward to playing for Hampshire," he said. "I know it's a great club - one with great expectations of itself - and it will be exciting to be part of it."

"The addition of Neil McKenzie to our strong squad is the last part of a carefully-planned process," explained Rod Bransgrove, Hampshire's cricket chairman. "His well-proven abilities will bring further resilience to our batting in all forms of cricket and I really believe that we now have a squad which will challenge for honours in all competitions. I am delighted that he has chosen to come here."

McKenzie played in 58 Tests and 64 ODIs for his country, and was an integral member of the South African squad which toured England in 2008. His match-saving century in the first Test at Lord's stretched over more than nine hours and proved crucial in the final analysis, as it allowed South Africa to grab the momentum and ultimately secure a 2-1 series win. His experience in England also includes county stints with Durham and Somerset.

"Neil is a highly-experienced and effective batsman who brings great presence to the Club both on and off the field," said Giles White, the first XI manager. "We need strength in depth to sustain a realistic challenge in modern day cricket and I am satisfied that we now have that in all key departments. No doubt, Hampshire supporters will warm to him very quickly and I hope he and his family enjoy the Hampshire experience this summer."

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