Aussie star Klinger named new captain of Gloucestershire
AUSTRALIAN batsman Michael Klinger will add "quality and experience" to Gloucestershire's top order after being confirmed as skipper for the 2013 season.
The 32-year-old former Australia Under-19 captain will replace Alex Gidman at the Nevil Road helm, after the former Wycliffe School pupil stood down at the end of last season.
Klinger has experience of English conditions having twice toured with Australia representative teams and also after a brief spell with Worcestershire in 2012, and is expected to be available for the full domestic schedule next year.
Gloucestershire are also tracking a specialist overseas recruit for the Friends Life t20 campaign as Sri Lankan star Muttiah Muralitharan won't be returning for a third season.
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Delighted to have secured Klinger's services, county director of cricket John Bracewell said Klinger was the ideal recruit as both a batsman and a leader.
"We are delighted to be signing a player of Michael's quality and experience," Bracewell said.
"He has proved himself adept at all forms of the game and has captaincy experience. We expect him to be available throughout the 2013 season.
"It is not easy to find overseas players who tick all those boxes and a lot of work has gone into finding the right man."
An elegant and technically-correct right-handed batsman, Klinger has made the number three spot his own for both the Southern Red Backs and the Australia A side.
He also holds a European passport, so would not need a work permit in order to take up his role at Nevil Road.
A prodigious youth player, Klinger was the youngest player to make a century in first grade cricket in his native Melbourne and captained the Australia Under-19s on their 1999 tour to England.
He led a side, that contained current Test captain Michael Clarke and bowler Mitchell Johnson, to a 1-1 draw in a series that included a drawn game at Nevil Road.
A solid, if unspectacular, performer for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield, Klinger's career took off when he switched states, moving to South Australia in 2008.
He toured England once again with the Australia A side last summer in a side that also contained Ed Cowan, the opener who made a handful of Gloucestershire appearances last term.
Klinger has also shone in the one-day arena, and led the Red Backs to the Ryobi Cup one-day title in Australia in 2012, hitting 85 off 102 balls in the final.
He also played in the IPL for the Kochi Tuskers Kerala and captained the Southern Red Backs in the Twenty20 Champions League in 2011.
Welcoming Klinger to the club, County chief executive Tom Richardson, said the search is underway for a replacement for Murali ahead of the 2013 Twenty20 competition.
"We were on the lookout for an experienced overseas player with captaincy skills and Michael fits the bill," Richardson said.
"His presence will benefit our young players and this is good news for the county. I'm sure he will add a lot of value to the club.
"We are now looking towards signing a second overseas player for the FLt20 campaign."