Ottis Gibson has described his excitement at the capture of birthday boy Matt Milnes on a long-term contract.
Coach Gibson and Darren Gough, Yorkshire’s interim managing director of cricket, have swooped to sign the Kent fast bowler – 28 today – on a three-year deal from next season.
Gibson says they have recruited a player who will add firepower to the bowling stocks and that it is just one part of a recruitment drive which will gather steam in the weeks and months ahead.
Nottingham-born Milnes will make the move north to Headingley this winter having also previously represented his home county; he has 140 wickets in 44 first-class matches to his name to date.
Milnes is also preparing for the forthcoming Hundred having been drafted by the Oval Invincibles.
Last summer, he was a replacement player for the Welsh Fire, when he caught the eye of Gibson.
“I watched a Hundred game (on TV) last year – I think I was in Bangladesh at the time – and I think he was clocked at around 90mph or something,” said the coach.
“He’s got potential to bowl quickly. It’s an exciting signing for us for sure.
“I was impressed with him when he played against us at Headingley early on this season.
“When we look at the squad we have, it seems as if he is a bit quicker than what we’ve got at the moment. He swings the new ball and takes wickets with the new ball.
“I feel like that’s where we need to go. The teams I want to build, I want a bit more cutting edge than we’ve got at the moment. I think he will provide us with that.”
Milnes has taken 18 wickets in five career LV= Insurance County Championship appearances against Yorkshire, also contributing with the bat.
He claimed seven wickets in the match, including a first-innings 5-87, when Kent won at Headingley at the end of 2019. That was the game in which Darren Stevens hit a double hundred and claimed seven wickets and Sam Billings hit a hundred in each innings.
When Yorkshire won at Canterbury at the start of last season, Milnes claimed five wickets, including that of Joe Root, and hit a second-innings 78 as a nightwatchman.
“I’ve had conversations with him, and his ambition is to to play for England,” continued Gibson. “It excites me when a player like him, at the age of 28, is thinking that way.
“He’s spoken about the work ethic, and I’ve spoken to other people about him – lovely guy who loves to work hard. He’s a very talented bowler.
“I spoke to Adrian Birrell (Hampshire’s coach) about him at Scarborough this week. We were having dinner, and he said he’s a very good bowler in county cricket.
“He’s played 40-odd games, so he knows county cricket and what it takes to get wickets in the first division.
“It’s a good signing for us, and one of a few that we hope to get across the line before the end of the season.”
Gibson added: “We don’t sign a player just for the Championship, we sign a player for Yorkshire County Cricket Club to play all cricket. He’s got a reasonably good record in the Blast as well for Kent.”
Milnes has taken 40 wickets in 41 career T20 appearances, including a best of 5-22.