Sam Northeast has ended weeks of speculation about his future by joining Hampshire.
The former Kent captain was given permission to speak to other counties last month after signalling he did not wish to sign a new contract with the club.
Following interest from a number of counties, the highly sought-after right-hander has now committed his future to Hampshire until at least the end of 2021.
Since making his debut for Kent in 2007, Northeast has totalled more than 8,000 first-class runs at an average of 39.66 in 136 matches, whilst the 28-year-old has reached the 1,000-run landmark in each of the last three County Championship campaigns. He’s also scored more than 4,500 runs in 178 List A and T20 fixtures.
Hampshire Cricket are thrilled to announce the signing of @sanortheast, who has signed a long-term deal with the Club! ✍️
— Hampshire Cricket (@hantscricket) February 19, 2018
Northeast said: “I have had a really enjoyable 10 years at Kent and I would like to wish the club and its supporters the best of luck for the future. It was an honour to be the club captain for three years and I leave the club with many happy memories.
“At the same time, I am hugely excited about joining Hampshire. It is a club and a team with a very bright future, and I am really looking forward to making as big a contribution as possible towards the club’s success. I hope this move will also help me push on to fulfill my dream of playing for England.”
Hampshire director of cricket Giles White said: “Sam is an exciting addition to the squad. He’s the type of cricketer and person that we believe will fit into the team well and we are delighted that he has chosen to pursue his career at Hampshire.
“He will add quality to the batting line up, has ability in all forms of the game and has a strong desire to improve. Hopefully we can provide him the platform to push for higher honours.”
Northeast, now 28, believes first division cricket offers him the best chance to England selection and has reportedly been frustrated by restrictions – financial and administrative – at Kent.
Northeast did have one year left on his contract (Kent apparently did not want him to continue as captain unless he signed an extension), for which Hampshire will have to pay Kent compensation. His signature is a major coup for the county following their snub for an Ashes Test in the ECB’s recent major match allocation.