The Yorkshire County Cricket Club is delighted to announce the signing of fast bowler Mathew Pillans on a three-year contract from Surrey.
The 27-year-old from Pretoria in South Africa will arrive at Emerald Headingley in October following the expiration of his contract at the Kia Oval.
Pillans qualifies to play as a domestic player courtesy of an ancestral visa and has long-term ambitions to play for England.
He made his first-class debut for Northerns in 2012 and has also played for the Durban-based Dolphins franchise.
Upon arriving at Surrey in 2016, he revealed his ambitions to play for England. A seven-year qualification period will end when he is aged 31.
Pillans has taken 129 wickets in 40 first-class matches, 16 in 12 List A appearances and 35 in 34 T20 appearances. He has taken three hauls of five wickets or more in his first-class career, including one match haul of 10-129.
He spent time on loan with Leicestershire last season and has played nine Vitality Blast matches for Surrey this summer, taking 10 wickets. He has been clocked as one of the fastest bowlers in the competition.
“My initial reaction was it’s great to be joining a club with great heritage,” said Pillans. “It’s quite an honour, and I felt proud when I signed the contract.
“It was a bit out of the blue. I hadn’t really got anything planned to be honest. Being my last year at Surrey, I was just focusing on the cricket.
“The talent that Surrey have there made it a competitive environment. In that sense, to feed off the talent, I feel my game improved quite a bit being there.
“In saying that, I feel I have bit more to offer given what I’ve learnt. It will great to put that into practice when I get to Yorkshire.
“From a personal point of view, my number one objective is to improve my game as much as I can and be the best cricketer I can be.
“I’m coming into another talented changing room, so hopefully I can continue to learn. Hopefully there’s also something I can add to the party with that as well.
“As soon as I qualify for England, I want to be up to that standard. That’s a long-term goal, though.
“I would probably classify my bowling as I try and bowl as quick as I can. But with the accuracy part hanging in.
“I’d say I’m an aggressive cricketer. Batting wise, I do prefer to be more attacking.
“When I’m off the field, that’s not really me. I’m a chilled and relaxed guy.”
Pillans continued: “There’s a blank canvas (up at Headingley).
“I don’t know many people up there, so it’s going to be starting off afresh and building for next season.
“There’s a couple of new faces who have been brought in, including myself, and I can’t wait to get up there and get to know the lads.”
Pillans has spent quite a bit of time playing cricket in England, including playing league cricket in the Cumbria and North Lancashire League. So he is familiar with the history and traditions of the White Rose county.
He added: “You have all the big names who have come through there; Root, Bairstow, all of them.
“Coming from South Africa, a lot of what you hear about county cricket surrounds Yorkshire. They’re such a big name.
“In 2012, I spent some time in Cumbria. A few people I knew supported Yorkshire, so I found a bit more about it then.
“They won the Championship for two consecutive years not long ago, so there’s a lot of good cricket that’s been played.”
Yorkshire director of cricket Martyn Moxon is backing Pillans to shine at Emerald Headingley.
“Mat has been at Surrey for a couple of years now, and he’s not had a huge amount of opportunity in the first team, so he’s looking to progress his career,” he said.
“We’re obviously looking for that continuity of availability. He fits the bill for us.
“He’s a bowler who has pace and is tall, and we’re looking forward to having him on board. I’m sure he’ll do well for us.
“He’s a different type of bowler to what we’ve already got.
“We’ve got a strong seam bowling squad, but it’s nice to have a bit of variety. Mat gives us something we haven’t currently got.”