Section: County

Cricket: Somerset sign Netherlands batsman Tom Cooper for 2015

Somerset have signed batsman Tom Cooper for the 2015 season.

The 28-year-old was born in Australia, but has played at international level for the Netherlands.

The right-hander has played 23 one-day internationals, scoring 976 runs at an average of 48.80, and has 2,697 first-class runs to his name.

“I have always wanted to play county cricket in England and have heard a lot about Somerset so I am looking forward to getting going in April,” he said.

Cooper, whose mother is Dutch, has also played 15 Twenty20 matches for the Netherlands, the most recent against England in Bangladesh last March.

Somerset director of cricket Matt Maynard said: “It is really good news that Tom has joined us for this season.

“He is a highly regarded batsman with a really good track record in all forms of the game and will be a great addition to our squad.”

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: Sam Billings added to England’s provisional World Cup squad

Kent wicketkeeper Sam Billings will replace Somerset’s Craig Kieswetter in England’s 30-man provisional squad for next year’s World Cup.

The uncapped Billings, 23, made his county debut in 2011 and averages 44.71 with the bat in List A matches.

Kieswetter has suffered a setback in his recovery from an eye injury and is due to miss the 2015 season.

He tweeted his congratulations  to Billings, calling him a “seriously talented player” and “future star”.

The World Cup will be held in Australia and New Zealand from 14 February to 29 March 2015, with England’s first match, against Australia, in Melbourne on 14 February.

England’s provisional squad includes two other wicketkeepers, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow. All squads must be reduced to 15 by 7 January.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: Craig Kieswetter: Eye injury keeps Somerset keeper out for 2015

Somerset and England wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter is set to miss the 2015 season after suffering a setback in his recovery from an eye injury.

He broke his nose and damaged his eye socket and cheekbone when a ball went through his helmet grille while batting against Northants in July.

The 27-year-old has since struggled to regain perfect vision.

Somerset have said Kieswetter’s long-term prognosis is unknown but he is “unlikely” to be fit for next year.

The South Africa-born keeper said in a statement: “It is really disappointing but my eye is not 100% and this of course is critical in maintaining the levels of performance that I expect of myself.

“I need to make every effort to resolve the matter and have the best specialist help in that regard.”

Kieswetter, who has played 46 one-day internationals, had been named in England’s 30-man squad for the World Cup, which starts in February.

He recently appeared for Warriors in South Africa’s domestic T20 competition, scoring 199 runs at an average of 22.11 in his 10 outings.

And only last week he was announced as a new signing for Sydney Thunder in Australia’s Big Bash League, but he has since withdrawn.

Kieswetter scored 497 runs in the T20 Blast in 2014 and also contributed 419 runs in Division One of the County Championship prior to suffering his injury at Wantage Road.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: Kent Fixtures

The 2015 season is shaping up to be an exciting summer of cricket in England.

The county cricket schedule was announced today with the domestic season starting on April 12 with Kent’s first home LV= County Championship game on Sunday, May 3 versus Leicestershire.

The first five LV= Championship home fixtures start on a Sunday with six of the seven Natwest T20 Blast matches played on Friday evenings.

Next summer is an big international summer and Kent is hosting the first match of the Ashes tour with Australia visiting The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence on June 25-28.

Tunbridge Wells Festival takes place in July with the four-day fixture on July 19-22.

The Royal London One-Day Cup starts in late July with three of four 50-over fixtures played in daytime.

Canterbury Week is played in early August with Royal London fixtures against Sussex and Lancashire either side of a LV= game versus Gloucestershire.

The world’s oldest cricket festival continues as England play Australia women in the Women’s Ashes Kia Test on August 11-14 at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence as part of an extended edition.

The season concludes with the visit of Gloucestershire to Canterbury on September 14-17.

Read more at Kent CCC

Cricket: Unhappy Compton leaves Somerset

Nick Compton, the former England opener, is to leave Somerset despite having signed a three-year deal with the club in 2013.

He is understood to have become disillusioned with life in the county game and unhappy about living so far from his home in Richmond, London.

While he has yet to sign for another county – he is understood to be taking some time away from the game to reflect on his options – there seems a decent chance he will, in time, re-join Middlesex. He represented the club from 2004 to 2009 and has a strong affinity for their home ground of Lord’s, where a stand is named after his grandfather, Denis Compton.

The move is a considerable blow to Somerset. Compton topped their Championship batting averages in 2013 and has scored 5,140 first-class runs an average of 55.87 since joining the club. He is the third top-order batsman to leave the club – excluding overseas players – in little more than 18 months. Chris Jones and Arul Suppiah both retired in recent times and Marcus Trescothick is, aged 38, in the autumn of his career.

The club have accepted, though, that Compton’s unhappiness is genuine and will neither hold him to his contract or pursue compensation payments. They hope that a move back to London – where Compton’s partner lives – may prove beneficial and understand that he is keen to explore opportunities in the media with a view to his career after his playing days.

After nine Tests in which he registered two centuries, Compton was devastated to be dropped on the verge of the 2013 Ashes and has since seen several younger men – the likes of Sam Robson, Adam Lyth and Alex Lees – overtake him in the race for a Test place. While he has continued to score consistently, the experience has weighed heavily on Compton. Being overlooked for the recent Lions squad seems to be confirmation that England do not see him as part of their future plans.

“I have loved playing for Somerset, but I have decided to re-locate more permanently to my base in south-west London,” Compton said. “I have always set myself the highest of professional standards, and I don’t want to compromise myself or the club, going forward.”‎

“I appreciate Somerset’s understanding of my wish to balance both my personal and professional life. The club will always have a special place in my heart and I owe Brian Rose a huge debt of gratitude for the privileged opportunity he gave me to become a Somerset cricketer, which in turn has enabled me to fulfil a number of cricketing goals.”

“I am sorry to see Nick depart as he is a quality cricketer,” director of cricket, Matt Maynard, said. “But it is fundamentally important that he, or any player for that matter, wants to be here and is able to perform to the best of their ability; sadly this is not something Nick feels able to achieve at this time”.

Read more at ESPN

Cricket: James Tredwell: Kent agree new deal with England spinner

England spin bowler James Tredwell has signed a contract extension with Kent prior to departing for the one-day international series in Sri Lanka.

The 32-year-old has been with Kent throughout his career and was captain for the 2013 season.

However, he also played Championship cricket for south-coast rivals Sussex during a loan spell last season.

Tredwell has played 39 one-dayers and 17 T20 matches for England, and also won a Test cap in Bangladesh in 2010.

The length of Tredwell’s new deal at Canterbury has not been disclosed.

He has now set his sights on retaining his place for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next February and March.

“The first step is to be on the plane to Sri Lanka and press your claim for a place in the team before the World Cup,” he told the Kent website.

“I’ll take it one series at a time and you have to take the chance to show what you can do.”

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: Sussex sign Ajmal Shahzad

Sussex have signed Nottinghamshire pace bowler Ajmal Shahzad on a three-year contract after he was released from his deal at Trent Bridge a year early.

The 29-year-old, who played one Test match for England in 2010, has signed a deal until the end of the 2017 season.

“It has come about quickly but I’m just delighted to be down here,” he said.

“This move has been made purely for cricketing reasons and I’m hoping to get the best I can out of it to progress my career.”

He added: “I’d like to thank Notts for being so understanding.”

Shahzad, whose sole Test appearances came against Bangladesh at Old Trafford, has also played 11 one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches for England.

He has been at Trent Bridge for the last two seasons, having started his career at Yorkshire and had a loan spell at Lancashire in 2012.

The Huddersfield-born right-armer took 18 wickets at an average of 40.55 in eight County Championship appearances in 2014 and added 11 wickets in the One-Day Cup and 13 in the T20 Blast.

He has taken 201 first-class wickets at an average of 35.52 over the course of his career.

Sussex’s cricket manager Mark Robinson described Shahzad as “a cricketer of great ability”.

“He hasn’t yet fulfilled all of his potential,” Robinson said. “He can bowl with a yard of pace and has the potential to be a genuine bowling all-rounder.

“We hope he can have a similar impact that Chris Jordan had, and fulfil the same role helping balance the team.”

Read more on BBC Sport

Cricket: Ryan ten Doeschate signs two-year contract for Essex

Essex one-day captain Ryan ten Doeschate has signed a new contract until the end of the 2016 season.

The 34-year-old all-rounder has been with the Chelmsford side since 2003 and led them to the quarter-finals of the T20 Blast and One-Day Cup in 2014.

With the bat, he averaged 88.75 in the T20 Blast and 52.50 in the One-Day Cup.

“He is still a key player for us in all formats, and his captaincy of the one-day team last season was excellent,” said Essex head coach Paul Grayson.

“Ryan has been a fantastic servant for Essex, and we are very pleased he has decided to extend his time here.”

Read more on BBC Sport

One-Day Cup: Final: Durham beat Warwickshire

Durham kept their heads in a tense finish as they beat Warwickshire by three wickets to win the One-Day Cup.

Bears skipper Varun Chopra made 64 as the Bears, having lost the toss and been put in, were dismissed cheaply in bowler-friendly conditions for 165.

Opener Mark Stoneman’s 52 rescued Durham from 12-2 before spinner Jeetan Patel took 4-25 to give the Bears hope.

But Ben Stokes (38) and Gareth Breese (15) restored calm to get home on 166-7 with more than nine overs in hand.

Breese, one of only three survivors from Durham’s only previous one-day final appearance (their Friends Provident Trophy win over Hampshire in 2007), struck the winning runs in what was likely to be his final appearance for the county.

He had also contributed wonderfully with the ball earlier in the day, taking 3-30 from seven overs.

But man of the match Stokes was even more influential. After returning figures of 2-25 with the ball, despite two dropped catches, he kept a cool head with the bat in a nail-biting finale that was in marked contrast to his heroic semi-final innings, when he blasted 164 off 113 balls to see off Notts.

Read more on BBC Sport


Cricket: Hampshire v Kent: Will Smith’s ton ensures host struggle to draw

Will Smith’s unbeaten 142 enabled promotion-chasing Hampshire hold out for a draw against Kent in Southampton.

After a morning washout, the 31-year-old, who resumed on 66, put on with Liam Dawson (40) before the latter was bowled by James Tredwell (4-110).

James Vince made a swift 27, but Adam Riley (4-36) swept the hosts batting line-up aside in tandem with Tredwell.

But Smith and James Tomlinson clung on for 11.4 overs as Hampshire ended on 248-9 to save the game.

Smith, who passed a 1,000 first-class runs during the match, spent over five-and-a-hours at the crease and hit 16 fours in his innings.

It was the 12th draw between the two counties in their last 16 Championship matches, with Hampshire having claimed three wins and Kent one in the other four games.

Following Essex’s innings and 79-run victory over Leicestershire,Hampshire head into their final Championship match knowing that only a victory will guarantee promotion to Division One for the first time since 2011.

Read more on BBC Sport