The Yorkshire County Cricket Club have secured the services of Windies batsman Kraigg Brathwaite for the final two County Championship Division One fixtures of the 2017 season, the club announced on Wednesday (September 6).
Brathwaite, who scored 134 and 95 in Windies’ series-levelling win at Headingley last week, doesn’t feature in the tourists’ squad for the ODI series that will follow the Tests. Consequently, the 24-year-old will join Yorkshire ahead of their final home game against Warwickshire, starting on September 19.
“It’s a bit of a surprise,” Braithwaite told the club website. “Initially, coming to England I knew there would be a lot of opportunities and one of my goals was to score as many runs as possible. I wanted to lead the West Indies batting from the top and earn a chance to play some county cricket.
“Before the second Test I was speaking to my agent and he was telling me that he was talking to Yorkshire’s coaching staff. After the game he came back to me telling me he was getting some quality feedback. They really wanted me and I was very happy because Yorkshire is a very big club in England and I’m very happy and proud to have been selected by them.”
Brathwaite, who made his first-class debut aged 16 and his Test debut in the home series against Pakistan in May 2011, averages 37.44 after 39 Tests, and 41.71 in first-class cricket. The young opener hoped featuring for a county side would add to his game significantly.
“Playing county cricket was always one of my goals and coming over here to play against England for the West Indies was going to get me one step closer, if I did well. Many of our past players have played in England and they always say it’s the place to develop a better technique and learn more about batting, predominantly because the ball does a lot throughout the day. Playing in England, playing county cricket will help me learn with every game, every day.
“It’s a new experience playing with a county side in England and so firstly I’m looking forward to making new friends. Obviously I’ll see how all the players go about their work and I’m hoping to lead the batting as the opener whilst given the opportunity. In any team all I’m looking to do is lay the foundations as the opener.”
Brathwaite fills the spot left vacant by the departure of Shaun Marsh, who will return home to turn up for Western Australia in the upcoming Matador Cup. Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s Director of Cricket, said Braithwaite’s match-winning heroics came just at the right time for the club.
“When we found out that Shaun wasn’t going to be available for the last two games, we looked at options to replace him,” said Moxon. “At such a late stage and with Kraigg getting the runs he did at Headingley, it all came at the right time. We enquired about his availability and it was pleasing he was keen to play and the West Indies cricket board are keen for him to get more experience playing in England, so it fits well for both parties.
“Importantly for us he’s currently playing in English conditions at Headingley, which is obviously one of our games, and was important for us with regards to anybody we brought in.”