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Hants sign new wicketkeeper
HAMPSHIRE manager Giles White insists that new signing Adam Wheater has not been promised Michael Bates’s position in the first team.
Essex coach Paul Grayson claimed the 23 year-old, pictured above, has been assured a first-team place after the signing was confirmed this afternoon.
But White responded by saying: “I wouldn't be so naive as to promise a player a position in the first team – he’s been signed to compete with Michael for the wicketkeeper's slot.”
Wheater has agreed a two-year deal with Hampshire after reaching an agreement with Essex to cancel the remaining year of his contract, having become frustrated at being third choice behind James Foster and Ben Foakes.
Bates averages 19 with the bat compared to Wheater’s 39 and Grayson said: “Over the winter months, Adam made it very clear that he would like to progress his wicket-keeping.
He is the third choice keeper at Essex and Hampshire have given him assurances that he will be their first choice at the club.
“It is always sad to lose a player you have nurtured from a young age but we understand that to progress his career in his preferred role he will need to change club.”
Bates has been nurtured from a young age by Hampshire and his wicketkeeping has helped the Royals win two t20 titles and the CB40 Trophy in recent seasons.
His batting is also improving and he scored his maiden first-class century against Yorkshire at Headingley last May.
But he now has significant competition from Wheater, who has three first-class centuries and is no stranger to Hampshire, having hit a brilliant 98 in a Chelmsford thriller last July.
It was not enough to prevent a two-run Hampshire win, but left an impression on White. “Adam played particularly well against us last season, he’s a dynamic batsman who hits the ball very cleanly and has a proven first-class record,”
said Hampshire’s manager.
“He was allowed to speak to other counties at the end of last season to explore his wicketkeeping options with other counties.
"His keeping is a little more unknown but we’ll learn more about him on our pre-season trip to Barbados.”
Wheater, a former England Under-19 teammate of James Vince, Hamza Riazuddin, Chris Wood and Liam Dawson, joins Bates and Adam Rouse as one of three wicketkeepers on the Hampshire staff.
For Essex, that is too many. Essex chairman Nigel Hilliard said: “This has been a difficult decision for the club but it is not practical to keep three wicket-keepers at one county."