Northants Cricket is delighted to announce that England under-19 wicketkeeper batsman Ben Duckett has signed a professional contract that will keep him at the club until September 2015.
Duckett made his first team debut in July of this year. He is also touring South Africa with England under 19’s in January and February 2013. Ben is at school until June 2014 when he will take up his full time contract.
Northants cricket can also confirm that wicketkeeper batsman Niall O’Brien has left the club and joined Leicestershire.
The 30-year-old Irish international joined Northants in 2007, and was named the Club's Player of the Year in 2008 after scoring 1388 runs in all formats during that season.
Chief Executive David Smith wished to place on record the club's appreciation of Niall’s six years’ service at the club and wishes him every success in the future.
With Niall leaving, the club will be re-investing into the playing budget by offering contracts to talented youngsters Rob Keogh, Christian Davis and James Kettleborough. All three players along with Ben Duckett have graduated through the Academy system.
Head Coach David Ripley said, “It’s sad to see Niall leave the club as he has been a big part of the changing room since he arrived from Kent. He 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.”
“Ben Duckett has had a very exciting 12 months, he has looked very assured in the 2nd team environment, made his 1st team debut and forced his way into the England u19 World Cup team as a 17-year-old. He has all the ingredients to become a top class wicket keeper batsman.”
“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.”