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Luke Georgeson, the batting allrounder who played for New Zealand at the Under-19 World Cup four years ago, has signed a two-year central contract with Cricket Ireland.
Georgeson, who turns 23 later this week, had a contract with Wellington in New Zealand's recent domestic season but has taken the "big decision" to commit his future to Ireland after spending last summer playing for Northern Knights in the inter-provincial set-up.
"Obviously I'm very pleased to have been offered a contract with Cricket Ireland," he said. "It's been a big decision to step away from the Wellington Firebirds and domestic cricket in New Zealand, but it's an extremely exciting opportunity to get stuck-in with the Irish and Northern Knights lads and see if I can play a part in what I believe is an exciting time for Irish cricket.
"Last year, I was so warmly welcomed into the Northern Knights set-up, and had an awesome time playing club cricket in the NCU [Northern Cricket Union] - and I felt like I became a better cricketer as a result.
"Signing this contract will hopefully give me an opportunity to continue to do that, and test myself on the international stage if I'm fortunate enough to get the chance. I've had an awesome time with Wellington, within the Wellington system, and - for a brief time - within the New Zealand Under-19s set-up, but the opportunity to progress with a highly talented group of individuals here in Ireland, and test myself more consistently at a higher level, is an opportunity I couldn't turn down."
Georgeson is an Irish passport-holder and will be eligible to play for the national team with immediate effect, if selected. He batted in the middle order for the Knights last year, but opened for Wellington throughout the New Zealand summer.
"We're obviously really disappointed to be losing a player of Luke's calibre, especially a young player who has grown and developed through our pathway system," said Cam Mitchell, Cricket Wellington's CEO.
"We know this has been a difficult decision for Luke to make, but we wish him all the best in Ireland and look forward to seeing him develop further as a cricketer."
Ireland's home summer includes fixtures against India, New Zealand, South Africa and Afghanistan. Andrew White, their chairman of selectors, said Georgeson would "bring further competition within our batting group" and "push standards within the group".
"Luke spent last summer in Ireland playing club cricket for CSNI and representing the Northern Knights," he said. "What stood out wasn't just his talent as a left-handed top-order batter, but the way in which he conducted himself on and off the field. His commitment and dedication to being the best he can be really struck the coaches that he worked under."