Niall O’Brien has joined Leicestershire on a three-year deal.
The 31-year-old has left Northamptonshire with a year remaining on his contract, a development that has been on the cards for a while, after being told during the season that he was free to seek alternative employment.
With David Murphy becoming the club’s first choice wicketkeeper and highly-rated schoolboy Ben Duckett joining the club after his A-Levels finish, O’Brien’s position had become marginalised and with no guarantee of first team cricket he opted to accept the Foxes’ offer.
Having removed of the highest wage earners from the payroll, the club have re-invested the finance freed up by O’Brien’s departure in the signing of three young players, namely Christian Davis, Rob Keogh and James Kettleborough.
In addition to Duckett’s arrival, revealed by this publication last week, the three other signings show a change in tack for the club’s recruitment policy which, an overseas player aside, has now been concluded for the winter.
Speaking about the changes in personnel, head coach David Ripley said: He (O’Brien) has found himself out of the side at times this season through form, fitness and international commitments, meaning the club couldn’t offer him the role he wants.
“He’s now found some personal security in Leicestershire’s offer of a three-year deal and we wish him well for his future.”
“James Kettleborough is a player that has shown he can score big hundreds in the 2nd XI.
“He’s always been a prolific run scorer and we’re looking forward to him becoming an important member of the team and push for first team opportunities.”
“Rob Keogh has shown good improvement over the last 12 months in his all-round game and in his overall attitude to cricket.
“We feel Rob will be able to contribute in all formats of the game, and we’re particularly excited about him pushing on with his batting and fighting for a place in the top three positions in the four day cricket.”
“Christian Davis has been with us for a very long time, and showed all his real ability versus Kent last season, which is very exciting.
“We will look at building that level of consistency in his cricket to catapult him in and around the first team.”