Yorkshire County Cricket Club have today added Kraigg Brathwaite to their ranks for the final two Specsavers County Championship fixtures of the 2017 season.
Brathwaite, fresh from scoring 134 and 95 in last week’s stunning win at Headingley which puts the Windies on the brink of their first series win in England since the 1980s, is set to join up with his new team-mates ahead of the Club’s final home fixture against Warwickshire, commencing on Tuesday September 19.
In his 39 Tests so far, Brathwaite has only been on the winning side on eight occasions, but importantly twice in April against Pakistan in Sharjah and then more recently at Headingley. Brathwaite, who made his First-Class debut aged 16 and his Test debut in the home series against Pakistan in May 2011, now averages 37.44 in Tests and 41.71 in First-Class cricket.
“It’s a bit of a surprise,” he said. “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.”
The 24-year-old, who has been playing Test cricket for six years and has repeatedly demonstrated his doggedness throughout his career, sought the advice of several Windies’ greats including Desmond Haynes, before tackling the challenging English conditions – and the prospect of county cricket.
He added: “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 is set to replace the outgoing overseas batsman Shaun Marsh, who will travel back to represent Western Australia in the Matador Cup, and the Club’s Director of Cricket Martyn Moxon is reassured to have sourced such a competent replacement with recent experience of English conditions.
“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.”
On the chances of a deal in 2018, Moxon added: “If he gets a lot of runs for us he’s going to stake a big claim, so it’s certainly a possibility going forward. We’ll just take one step at a time and see how these two games go. If he goes well and enjoys his time here, it could be something we do going forward.”
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