Middlesex expect to announce a new overseas signing early next week as they seek to fill the void left by Adam Voges’ selection in Australia’s Ashes squad.
Voges was due to be with Middlesex all season but after earning a late career shot at Test cricket Angus Fraser, the London club’s director of cricket, has been left searching for a replacement.
Speaking at Middlesex’s pre-season media day Fraser confirmed that despite the difficulties associated with finding a suitable candidate so close to the start of the season talks with a prospective candidate have reached an advanced stage.
“We had a contingency plan, a list of players, but you never quite know how it’s going to work out”, Fraser said. “Sometimes your contingency players are affected by ‘A’ tours and overseas tours that spring up. Sometimes someone comes from left-field that you hadn’t expected.
“We’ve spent a bit of time thinking about it but we’ve identified the player, he’s happy to come and we’ll hopefully have something to announce in the next few days”.
The identity of the player has been kept tightly under wraps but candidates likely to be in the frame include Tasmania opening batsman Ed Cowan and New Zealand pair Tom Latham and Hamish Rutherford. Hashim Amla and Ross Taylor are outside possibilities though the former would miss a busy period of Middlesex’s season because of South Africa’s tour of Bangladesh.
Having signed Voges as a like-for-like replacement for Chris Rogers, Fraser admits that he has now had to “compromise a bit”. Voges was named club captain in November but his tenure will now last just four Championship games before he joins up with Australia ahead of their tour of the West Indies.
“We’ve got guys who want to captain this club here as well”, Fraser said. “We’re not short of options to captain, it’s just a question of who we give that honour to”.
The front-runner for the captaincy would appear to be Nick Compton who skippered on his Middlesex return against Oxford MCCU last week. However, he is not the only contender with Dawid Malan also having captained in pre-season and James Franklin leading Wellington in his native New Zealand. A decision will be made closer to Voges’ departure.
Middlesex open their campaign on Sunday with hotly tipped Nottinghamshire visiting Lord’s.