Gurney quits red-ball for limited-overs only
Melbourne Renegades import retires from first-class cricket to concentrate on fast-rising white-ball career
20 March 2019, 07:52 PM AEST
Harry Gurney, the English death bowler that played a key role in the Melbourne Renegades maiden BBL title win, has retired from red-ball cricket to focus on the limited-overs formats.
Gurney – who has the sobriquets 'Mr Bean' and 'The Accountant' for his ungainly physique and bowling action – has signed a white-ball only two-year deal with English county side Nottinghamshire.
"I am very proud of what I have achieved in red-ball cricket, but now feels like the right time to focus solely on one-day competitions," Gurney said in a statement.
"I am grateful to the club for understanding and for showing faith in me by giving me a deal until the end of 2020.
"I can't imagine playing my cricket anywhere else in England and I hope I can taste further white-ball success with this exciting group of players."
His exploits with the Renegades after joining as a replacement player for Pakistan's Usman Shinwari helped cement his reputation as one of the best death bowlers in T20 cricket.
Rated the very best at bowling in the final overs by Renegades teammate Dan Christian, he played a key role in bringing Gurney to the club fully aware of his bag of tricks after the pair won England's domestic T20 title together at Notts in 2017.
Gurney is out of contract for next season's KFC BBL, but after going at just 7.17 an over in nine games bowling primarily at the death and in the powerplay he's sure to have caught the attention of many franchises.
The 32-year-old said in the wake of the Renegades title win, where he conceded 20 runs from his four overs in the Melbourne Stars' stunning implosion, that he was hopeful of a return to the club.
"I'd absolutely love to (return to the Renegades)," Gurney told cricket.com.au in February. "I love Australia. It's a great place.
Quality stuff from 'The Accountant' @gurneyhf as he got the job done for the @RenegadesBBL in the #BBLFinal! pic.twitter.com/PYYE2YlbbZ— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) February 17, 2019
"The Big Bash is a really good show. It's been really special. You'll have to ask the coach and the director of cricket if they want me back."
He played two matches for England's T20 side and 10 one-dayers back in 2014, but has one eye on next year's T20 World Cup in Australia with his profile quickly rising.
"(England selection) is not something I devote a huge amount of thought to. But there is a (T20) World Cup here in (the northern) autumn next year so I intend to spend the next few months just playing as much T20 cricket as I can around the world.
"If the call comes from England, then that would be amazing. If not, I'm pretty happy with the career I've had and I'm excited for the next two or three years anyway."
Gurney has already this year tasted victory in the BBL and Pakistan Super League as well as a ten-over competition in the UAE.
@T10League ✅🏆@BBL ✅🏆 @thePSLt20 ✅🏆@IPL 🙏🙏🙏 On my way @KKRiders! pic.twitter.com/X297h47bjX— Harry Gurney (@gurneyhf) March 17, 2019
He is about to embark on his first IPL campaign at the Kolkata Knight Riders, who picked him up for about A$150,000, where he will play alongside Brisbane Heat master blaster Chris Lynn.
The Englishman would have found a supportive ear in Lynn – the Queenslander turned down a state contract in 2017-18 so as not to deny a spot to an upcoming player while he focused on white-ball cricket and his recovery from shoulder surgery.
Likewise Nottingham's rising talent will now get more opportunity in the County Championship.
"While it's a disappointment that Harry won't be playing red-ball cricket for us anymore, we're really pleased to have him committed to us for one-day cricket over the next two seasons," said director of cricket Mick Newell.
"He's one of the best white ball bowlers around. Once he made his decision, if we didn't offer him a white ball deal there would be 17 other counties wanting him to bowl for them.
"When he returns from the IPL, he'll have had a concerted period of T20 cricket behind him and will continue to be an asset to us, as he has been for a number of years."
Gurney has taken 275 first-class wickets at an average of 28.81, including career-best figures of 6-25 against Lancashire in 2018. He joined Notts in 2012 after starting his career with Leicestershire and took more than 40 wickets in the County Championship in three of the past four seasons.