Kolkata Knight Riders sign up Henriques

Moises Henriques, the New South Wales allrounder, has been signed up by the Kolkata Knight Riders for the 2009 IPL season for a reported US$300,000. Henriques could be joined by his New South Wales team-mate David Warner, whose explosive batting this season is said to have caught the attention of at least two other franchises.

Henriques, a middle-order batsman and right-arm seamer, is a product of the Australian Institute of Sports and captained the Australian Under-19 team during the 2006 World Cup and collected 16 wickets and scored 150 runs. He was called up to the Australian one-day squad as a last-minute replacement for Andrew Symonds for the home ODIs against Bangladesh in September but didn't get a game, though he later starred in the Blues' victory against the touring New Zealanders last month with a half-century and a five-wicket haul.

"I am pretty lucky in this situation, but with that comes extra pressure because I haven't done that much in the domestic scene," Henriques told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I haven't really proved myself at the next level. My dream has always been to play for Australia and this is during the off-season so I don't see it impeding my dream."

Warner, though yet to make his first-class debut, has been in the news this season for his explosive batting - his stand-out performance was the unbeaten 165 in an FR Cup match against Tasmania late last month. He has an average of 64 and strike-rate of 117 in eight one-day matches for his state and, against Tasmania on Sunday, narrowly fell short of recording the fastest one-day hundred in Australian domestic history with 97 off 54 balls in a tied game. . He was spotted by John Buchanan, the former Australian coach currently with the Knight Riders, at the Centre of Excellence nets and sounded out for the franchise. A top franchise official told Cricinfo that discussions were still on with Warner.

"There are three IPL teams in negotiations with my manager at the moment but there is nothing signed as yet," Warner told AAP. "It's exciting. Just to be given the opportunity to go over there with the world's best players is going to be amazing and hopefully we'll get something settled soon."

Warner also has the backing of his coach at NSW, Matthew Mott, who happens to be the assistant coach of the Knight Riders. "I guess I am just in the right spot to advise them," Mott said. "David has obviously played some very special knocks recently, and there is a fair bit of interest."