Hoggard set for captaincy after joining Leicestershire

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Leicestershire have won the battle to sign former England seamer Matthew Hoggard, agreeing a three-year deal with the 32-year-old - who will also become the county's new captain.

The 2005 Ashes winner, who lost his Test place and his England and Wales Cricket Board central contract last year, was surprisingly released by his native Yorkshire despite being the club's top wicket-taker last season.

Hoggard spearheaded the White Rose's successful battle against relegation from Division One of the LV County Championship with 43 wickets but will now drop down to the second tier himself, with the Foxes desperate to improve on their bottom-placed finish in the 2009 campaign.

Leicestershire showed Hoggard around the club's facilities at the end of last week in a bid to fight off competition from Sussex, who had themselves offered Hoggard a three-year deal.

The terms of the contract cover the next three seasons but also include an option for 2013.

Hoggard may have been won over to the Leicestershire cause by the offer of the captaincy, a position he had openly petitioned for at Yorkshire before his surprise release.

He will also get the chance to play one-day and Twenty20 cricket at Grace Road, having becoming an increasingly peripheral figure in the limited-overs set-up at Headingley.

Announcing the signing, Leicestershire chief executive David Smith said: "I am delighted that Matthew has chosen Leicestershire over a number of other interested counties.

"Matthew brings with him a wealth of experience, having played for England on 67 occasions - taking 248 Test match wickets. He will also take over the club captaincy and will be an ideal role model for all our young cricketers at the club".

Hoggard will lead a new-look Foxes side containing fellow new signings Andrew McDonald, Will Jefferson and James Benning.

He said: "I'm genuinely excited about the prospect of joining Leicestershire and taking charge of a young and talented squad.

"I was flattered by the amount of interest and support shown towards me from all quarters, but Leicestershire really stood out in terms of offering something different - and at this stage of my career it will provide the new challenge I want.

"I've always wanted to test myself and I feel I still have a huge amount to offer the game. Working with (coach) Tim Boon, I hope we can take Leicestershire onwards and upwards"

Leicestershire, meanwhile, have also confirmed Boon is compiling a short-list of overseas specialists for next seasons Twenty20 Cup.