Michael Klinger will move to Western Australia for next summer, as the man to plug the gap left in the Warriors' squad by the retirement of Marcus North. A two-year contract with WA lured 33-year-old Klinger westward, though he still had a season of his existing deal with South Australia left to run.
The news of Klinger's signature will be a relief for the Warriors coach Justin Langer, who has been working to find a senior pro following North's surprising decision to finish his Australian first-class career after a summer's renaissance as an opening batsman. Having moved to SA from Victoria in 2008 in an effort to supercharge his fortunes, Klinger has developed a reputation as a solid citizen and capable leader, also guiding Gloucestershire in England.
"I am very grateful for the opportunity the Western Warriors have given me," Klinger said. "I am looking forward to working with Justin and the coaching staff as well as joining the senior players in helping to guide this very exciting young group of talented cricketers to achieve success.
"It's sad to leave my teammates in South Australia, many of whom I have forged life long friendships with, but I am excited for what the future holds in WA. My wife and two young children along with myself are looking forward to calling Perth home."
In his time with the Redbacks, Klinger twice won the state player of the year award on Allan Border Medal night, while also taking home a trio of Neil Dansie medals as SA's most outstanding player. His captaincy garlands included the 2011 Big Bash and 2012 domestic limited overs titles, the first silverware won by SA since their last Sheffield Shield in 1996.
In all, Klinger has tallied 4,243 first-class runs for SA at 42.86 while also collecting 10 centuries. His record in limited overs matches has been similarly handsome. The Redbacks' loss will now be the Warriors' gain, not only in terms of runs but also the diligent example Klinger will set for the younger players he trains and performs alongside.
"It is obviously sad to lose someone of Michael Klinger's quality, and a player who has given a great deal to South Australian cricket," SA high performance manager Jamie Cox said. "Michael had a one-year deal remaining here in South Australia, but the Warriors were able to offer him a longer-term contract.
"We understand Michael's desire for contract security, and we wish him nothing but the best moving forward."
Klinger's move to the Warriors will make him part of Langer's plans to build a dynasty of success with WA, a goal the team took a first step towards by making this year's Shield final where they were thwarted by New South Wales. SA have meanwhile secured the return home of Mark Cosgrove, who had departed to Tasmania four years ago.