Hammond pens new deal

Gloucestershire’s Miles Hammond has signed a contract extension keeping him at the county side until the end of 2022.

The 24-year old batsman made his one-day debut for the club in 2013 when he burst onto the scene as an off-spinner. Since then, Hammond has developed into an explosive opening batsman particularly in limited overs cricket. During last season’s Vitality Blast competition, he averaged 26 and top scored with 63 against Middlesex in a year where only star captain Michael Klinger outscored the Cheltenham-born youngster’s 322 runs.
However, his most eye-catching form came in the Royal London Cup where he averaged 41 with a top score of 95 in just four games for the Gladiators.
“I’m very excited to have signed a new two-year contract extension at Gloucestershire Cricket. It’s a club I’ve been at since I was 14 and being from Cheltenham I always wanted to play here,” he said.
The left-hander, who made his first-class debut in 2015, featured heavily during Gloucestershire’s promotion-clinching season, batting 23 times, as they club secured their return to Division One for the first time since 2004. Despite the club’s success, Hammond’s average of 19 and top score of 82 suggest that there is room for improvement once the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 settles.
He added: “I’m thankful for the belief the club have shown me and I can’t wait to get back out on the field with an exciting bunch of lads once this uncertainty is over. We know we are capable of achieving big things and hopefully we get the chance to do that.”
Over the winter, Hammond has been working closely with Gloucestershire coaches Ian Harvey and Owen Dawkins on ways he can improve on his 2019 season.
Head coach Richard Dawson said: “We are delighted that Miles will be with us over the next few years. He is a young lad who is eager to learn and has developed his game each year at the club. We look forward to working with him more and seeing how he matures as a cricketer. Hopefully, with the club’s backing he can continue to show Gloucestershire supporters his ever-growing talent with the bat and his terrific character.”
Hammond’s contract extension continues the impressive off-season recruitment drive from the South West county after they announced two huge signings back in February. Cheteshwar Pujara and Jerome Taylor both were expected to be heading the Bristol County Ground this summer, although due to the ECB’s decision to postpone cricket until no earlier than May 28 amid Covid-19 fears, it remains to be seen if those deals will come to fruition.
The signing of Indian batsman Pujara was seen a coup for the county, his ability to bat long periods of time in longer forms of cricket is unrivalled in the world game and he currently sits seventh in the ICC Test batsman ratings. Taylor, meanwhile, has played lots of county cricket in recent years representing Leicestershire, Sussex and Somerset. The West Indian pace bowler played international cricket for 15 years before moving to England and won the ICC 2016 T20 World Cup with his country during that time. Pujara was set to play six County Championship games at the start of the season whilst Taylor was available for all competitions throughout the year.
The County Championship season has, however, been thrown into major doubt after the English and Welsh Cricket Board (ECB) made it clear more lucrative forms of the game will be prioritised when the season eventually begins.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.