Fast bowler Leighton Burtt has moved to Wellington from Canterbury for the 2010-11 season. He said the reason behind the shift was to improves his chances of making the New Zealand squad.
"I have aspirations to play international cricket," Burtt said, "and a move to Wellington, with its excellent first-class structure and the opportunity to make the Basin Reserve my home ground, will hopefully be the catalyst for me in reaching the next level."
Burtt, 26, had a moderate season in 2009-10, taking 17 wickets at 28.94 in five first-class matches. Canterbury is his home province and he has played all his senior cricket there. "It has been a hard decision as a born and bred Cantabrian, especially with the family involvement in Canterbury Cricket over a long period of time," he said. "It is a decision based on what is in my best interests from a personal development perspective as well as cricket."
Wellington head coach Anthony Stuart said Burtt's signing will help boost his side's fast bowling. "He's built up a good track record as a wicket-taking opening bowler over the past few seasons for Canterbury and he's still a young guy with his best cricket in front of him," Stuart said. "Due to injuries and last season's retirement of Iain O'Brien, we had an inexperienced attack throughout much of last summer and Leighton's arrival will give us an extra dimension with the new ball."
Burtt is a former New Zealand Under-19 player but broke through to the Canterbury senior team only at the age of 23. Since then, he has nabbed 76 wickets in 24 first-class games at 33.01. Burtt's signing follows last week's announcement that Grant Elliott will lead Wellington and Jeetan Patel will be his deputy for the coming year after an abysmal 2009-10 season.