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Kent swoop to sign 18-year-old Hamidullah Qadri from Derbyshire

Hamidullah Qadri in his delivery stride Getty Images

Kent have announced the signing of Hamidullah Qadri, the 18-year-old offspinner, on a three-year deal.

Qadri, who moved to Derby from Afghanistan at the age of 10, became the first first-class cricketer born in the 21st century in June 2017, and has been an England Under-19 regular over the past two years.

He has only played two Championship games for Derbyshire this season, taking five wickets at 28.00, but he has been earmarked as one of the best younger spinners in the English game.

"I'm really excited to have the opportunity to play Division One first-class cricket here at Kent," Qadri said. "I have only heard good things about the set-up here and when Kent asked about my availability, it was a very attractive offer and one that I couldn't turn down."

Qadri fills the gap left in Kent's spin stocks by the departure of Adam Riley earlier this year.

Riley was briefly considered to be the natural successor to Graeme Swann as England's best offspinner after a brilliant 2014 season, but lost his action after being encouraged to try and bowl quicker by the England set-up. He never really recovered, and was released in June.

Kent signed Ollie Rayner on loan from Middlesex as cover for the rest of this Championship season, but Qadri will be their primary spinner from next season. Imran Qayyum is likely to continue as the club's main white-ball spinner.

Paul Downton, the club's director of cricket, said: "Hamid is an excellent prospect and we're delighted to secure his services. He's a self-taught natural spinner of the ball who has impressed at all levels.

"Working with the England Young Lions spin coach and our new Head of Talent Pathway, Min Patel, he is the Young Lions' leading spinner. With the chance to continue working with Min, and also with James Tredwell in the winter, we believe he will continue to develop into a really exciting cricketer.

"We have a number of talented young players here at Kent and Hamid adds to that talent pool."