On the day that one Bear that hails from New Zealand, Tom Pritchard, celebrates his hundredth birthday, another has signed up to play at Edgbaston. All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme will be the T20 overseas player for the Birmingham Bears for the full NatWest T20 Blast season.
Pritchard was a fearsome fast bowler and an occasional big hitter. 30 year old de Grandhomme bowls at a much gentler pace, but can give a cricket ball an almighty thump. He boasts the highest strike rate of any T20 batsman in the professional game, at 171.04 runs per 100 balls. He recently forced his way back into the BlackCaps team in all three formats following an impressive domestic season with Auckland Aces, which included 139 runs in four McDonald’s Supersmash T20 games at a strike rate of 220.63.
Ashley Giles, Sport Director at Warwickshire CCC, said: “Colin is a perfect addition to the team for our 2017 campaign, adding the batting firepower that we desire in our middle order, whilst adding depth to our bowling attack as an experienced seamer bowler.
“His batting strike rate is unparalleled in the professional game. He has been in the best form of his career this winter and his power and ability to clear the boundary makes him on of the most exciting batsmen in the game.
“I have spoken previously about needing to recruit cricketers who are not only talented, but are hungry for success, can play the entire campaign and have the right character to become a Bear. We certainly get this with Colin and look forward to seeing him join up with the squad in July.”
It is reasonable to assume that de Grandhomme comes with a recommendation from fellow New Zealander Jeetan Patel, who is the club’s overseas player for all three formats.
Colin de Grandhomme, said: “As a New Zealand cricketer, I am really excited by the opportunity to play to become a Bear. I look forward to meeting Ashley, the team, staff and its Members in July and working together to achieve our goal of a home Finals Day at Edgbaston.”
Bears supporters will no doubt be raising a glass to celebrate one Kiwi’s centenary whilst wishing another a successful campaign this summer.