The Adelaide Strikers have boosted their pace stocks, landing the signature of in-demand Englishman George Garton.
A left-arm speedster, Garton is currently in the United Arab Emirates with Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore as a replacement for Kane Richardson.
The 24-year-old helped the Southern Brave to the inaugural Hundred title in the United Kingdom, taking 10 wickets in nine games, while he has also been a standout for Sussex in the T20 Blast.
An international debut loomed earlier this year in an ODI series against Pakistan but Garton was part of the initial squad that suffered a COVID-19 outbreak, forcing England to select an entirely new set of players.
Coach Jason Gillespie says Garton can swing the ball and hit speeds “north of 140kph”, adding that his batting (his 96 runs in the Blast this season came at a strike-rate of 165.51, hitting six sixes) and fielding were also part of the attraction.
“George has been on England’s radar for a while now,” said Gillespie. “He bowls left arm fast, he can swing the new ball which is great, he is an aggressive left hand batter who can clear the rope and he would be one of the best fielders in the world at the moment. He is top drawer.
“We identified that in the middle-order, to have a batting and bowling option is something that will be extremely useful to us.
“We are comfortable that we have a lot of great top-order options, but this is an area that we can strengthen within our squad."
Garton, who has played alongside Strikers stars Rashid Khan and Travis Head at Sussex, was a late call-up to England’s 2017-18 Ashes squad after a string of injuries.
He played nine games for Victorian Premier Cricket team Northcote the following summer, featuring alongside another Striker, Matt Short.
“He has experience in Australian conditions,” said Gillespie. “His partner is from Melbourne and so he has spent some off seasons playing in Melbourne in Premier Cricket.
“He will slot right into our team. He has developed a really good rapport with Travis during their time at Sussex and I know the captain is excited to have him on board."
The arrival of a gun fast bowler who can pinch-hit in the lower order helps off-set the loss of Michael Neser, who has joined Brisbane Heat for BBL11.
“I’m really excited to be a part of the Adelaide Strikers, a club with such a successful history in the Big Bash," said Garton. "Hopefully we can bring the trophy back to Adelaide in BBL|11!”
Garton is the first confirmed international signing but it is expected that Rashid will return to the club.
Adelaide Strikers BBL11 squad (so far): Travis Head (c), Wes Agar, Alex Carey, Harry Conway, George Garton (ENG), Spencer Johnson, Harry Nielsen, Liam O'Connor, Matthew Renshaw, Liam Scott, Peter Siddle, Jake Weatherald, Jon Wells, Daniel Worrall.