Derbyshire County Cricket Club supporters will be licking their lips at the news that South African captain Hashim Amla has signed for their club for the 2015 season.
The news has just broken that Amla will be available in May for two County Championship matches and three T20 Blast games, replacing Martin Guptill who has been called up by New Zealand for their tour of England.
Amla is regarded by many as one of the best batsmen in the world. He is currently ranked third in the world in Test Match cricket, behind only compatriot AB de Villiers and Kumar Sangakkara.
His record speaks for itself; in 82 Tests Amla has scored over 6,500 runs in Test cricket at an average of nearly 53.
The 32-year-old has an equally impressive ODI record having played 115 ODIs, scoring 5,692 runs at an average of 55.
Derbyshire, who have long been regarded as one of the weaker Championship sides will be buoyed by this signing as they bid to improve their recent record. Not many fans of the Falcons would have expected to see news like ‘Hashim Amla Signs For Derbyshire’ ten years ago, and the news appear to reinforce their progress as a club.
With Guptill and Tillakaratne Dilshan also involved this season, along with a multitude of young talent, it looks to be a season that Derbyshire fans can enjoy.
Hashim Amla signs for Derbyshire. Guptill and Dilshan also plying their trade there this summer; all excellent bits of business.
— LastWordOnCricket (@LWOSCricket) April 21, 2015
Derbyshire are not the only side to be benefiting from overseas talent this year. English County Cricket looks to be attracting a number of top quality overseas players this season; with Chris Gayle signing for Somerset for the T20 Blast, Kumar Sangakkara plying his trade currently with Surrey and Yorkshire parading the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch, 2015 could be a vintage year for the English domestic game.
With proposals for reforms of the County game – and T20 cricket in particular – in the pipeline, English counties will be hoping to attract more world-class players in the future which will hopefully inspire the next generation of English cricketers.
Amla’s first fixture for Derbyshire will be the LV= County Championship match against Northamptonshire at The 3aaa County Ground, Derby, beginning on Sunday 10 May.
The side’s Elite Performance Director, Graeme Welch said: “Hashim is a world class batsman and a proven match winner on both the Test and limited overs stage.”
“He’s a player I have worked with before and I know he will be a great influence on the younger lads. He will also bring a wealth of experience to the side as we look to compete at the highest level in both red ball and white ball cricket.”
Amla himself told the club’s website that he was “delighted to have the opportunity to play in England this summer. Derbyshire are an ambitious Club with an exciting young team and I’ve enjoyed working with Graeme before.”
“I’m looking forward to making a strong contribution in both four-day and Twenty20 cricket for Derbyshire next month,” added the 32-year-old.