KEITH Barker will remain a Hampshire Cricket player after the all-rounder signed a contract extension keeping him at the Ageas Bowl until the end of the 2023 season.

Quickly establishing himself as a key player of Hampshire’s four-day side since joining the club from Warwickshire in 2018, the fast bowler picked up 41 County Championship wickets at an average of just 18 last season.

The 34-year-old was in fine form as he helped Hampshire to come within touching distance of their first County Championship since 1973.

With 21 wickets in four divisional fixtures, Barker recorded a career-best of 7-46 against title rivals Nottinghamshire.

Speaking about his extension, Barker said: “It’s a great feeling. I felt I did pretty well last year and to be able to go again for another two years, I couldn’t ask for anymore really.

“I really want us to get that red ball trophy and push as hard as we can for that - we’re taking the right strides this winter and hopefully we can get over the line next year.”

The extension comes off the back of Barker being named red ball bowler of the year at the Hampshire end of season Awards, as well as being awarded by his teammates with the prestigious players’ player of the year award.

Hampshire director of cricket Giles White said: “Keith has been one of the leading all-rounders in the longest form of the game for years. It’s not just the runs and the wickets that make him such a valuable member of our squad.

“He also plays an important role off the field and has become a well-respected leader within the group. We are obviously delighted that he will be playing a part in the club over the next couple of years.”

Barker took 38 County Championship wickets at an excellent average of just 26.34 in his first season at The Ageas Bowl in 2019.

Having played in all but one game that summer due to illness, he also contributed with the bat, adding 357 runs at an average of 25.50.

The COVID-19 pandemic combined with a minor injury limited Barker to just two appearances in 2020, adding seven wickets at 28.71.