Keith Hubert Douglas Barker
October 21, 1986, Manchester, Lancashire
Left hand bat
Left arm medium fast
A former footballer who was signed as a batsman, Keith Barker actually made his name as a left-arm swing bowler. Declining the offer of a Lancashire contract when he was 16, Barker instead pursued a career in football and, as a striker, represented England at U-18, U-19 and U-20 level. But after signing for Blackburn Rovers, he dropped to Rochdale Town and then Northwich Victoria and, by the time he was 21, it became apparent that he was not going to make it as a footballer. With Lancashire initially showing little interest in having him back, he impressed in club cricket with Enfield in the Lancashire League and, having scored a century in a trial match, was offered a contract by Warwickshire in August 2008.
By the time he moved to Hampshire at the end of the 2018 season (describing Warwickshire's offer of a new contract as "an afterthought"), he had claimed 357 first-class wickets at 25.51 and included six first-class hundreds in a respectable 28.64 average. He was a crucial part of the Warwickshire attack that won the County Championship in 2012, a season in which he won selection for the England Lions.
Barker made his maiden first-class century against a strong Durham attack in 2011 having been called into the game after two days as a substitute for William Porterfield and followed it up with another against Sussex a couple of games later. But it was in 2012 that he really made a breakthrough, taking the new ball and claiming 56 wickets at only 20 apiece, including five five-wicket hauls, in the Championship and helping Warwickshire win the title. While somewhat gentle of pace, his control and ability to swing the ball render him a dangerous proposition and he followed his breakthrough year with 46 first-class wickets in 2013 and 51 in 2014 cementing his reputation as one of the most potent left-arm bowlers in county cricket.
His batting remained useful, too. While not completely convincing against the short ball, there was normally a century from the lower order at some point in the summer to further underline an all-round ability that did not quite win him an opportunity at the highest level. Eligible for England and West Indies, he had made it clear that he would be happy to represent either, though neither came to fruition.
His first season at Hampshire was something of a success. While he was limited to opportunities in the Championship alone, he took 37 wickets at 26.59 as his new team finished third in Division One.
Barker is the son of the former British Guiana cricketer, also named Keith, and the godson of former West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, with whom he shares the distinctive middle name, Hubert.
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