YORKSHIRE have made their second marquee signing of the week – with a third expected in the near future – as they finalise their squad for 2020.
The club have recruited West Indies batsman/wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran for the majority of their T20 Blast North Group campaign.
It comes hot on the heels of England batsman Dawid Malan’s arrival on a four-year contract and is set to be followed by the recruitment of an overseas spinner for County Championship cricket.
Yorkshire are completing their business nice and early as they plan for an assault on the Championship and T20 competitions in particular, while hoping that a younger side can inspire success in the 50-over tournament that takes place at the same time that they are without several key players due to The Hundred.
Pooran, 24, played three T20 matches for the club last season, scoring 122 runs at an average of 40, with bad weather putting paid to two further scheduled appearances.
The hard-hitting left-hander showed enough to suggest that he could have a major impact over the bulk of a 14-match group programme, although the exact number of games for which Pooran is available is presently unclear due to potential international commitments.
“I’m very happy to be returning to Headingley for next season’s T20 Blast,” he said.
“I really enjoyed my short stint there after the World Cup and feel I have a bit of unfinished business with the weather winning in a couple of the games I was scheduled to play in 2019.”
Part of Pooran’s appeal to Yorkshire, as with that of Malan, is that he has experience and know-how to match the ability.
Yorkshire felt that their Achilles heel last summer in T20 especially was their inability to win key moments in matches when the pressure was on, unravelling so much of their good work besides.
“I felt that last season we missed out in close games when the pressure was on us,” said Yorkshire first-team coach Andrew Gale.
“At the back end of games we couldn’t get over the line, and bringing in experienced players helps with that.
“It brings a calmness and coolness under pressure and getting these two guys should give us that calmness. In both players we are getting proven match-winners.”
Gale described Pooran as a big draw card and “as explosive as anyone in world cricket”. He added: “We all got a glimpse of what a special player he is last season; he is box office.
“In T20, you always look down the team sheet to see who can win you a game, and Pooran is a guy that can win you a game on his own.”
Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket, said: “From the end of his time with us last year, we said that we wanted to keep in touch and keep him as an option for this summer. We are pleased that it has worked out that way.
“We want to make a real effort to win the (T20) competition, and bringing in Dawid and Nicholas is a massive boost to the quality of the squad.
“We have some talented batsmen already at the club, but these two additions are really making us, on paper, a strong outfit.”