What's the story?
Australia all-rounder Hilton Cartwright has been signed up by Middlesex for the upcoming county season for at least the first five matches, with the possibility of an extension in his contract. Cartwright has replaced former Australia batsman Adam Voges, who was also his statemate and captain at Western Australia, having also led Middlesex in the previous season of the Championship.
In case you didn't know..
The 26-year-old Cartwright first earned a name for himself in the 2015-16 domestic calendar, having started out for his state in 2012-13. That season, he racked up 409 runs at 68.17 for Western Australia, and his medium-pace abilities also saw him enter the frame for national selection, when he was a squad member of the national side for the first time in December 2016 with New Zealand arriving in Australia for a three-match ODI series.
Though he did not start for his country then, an international debut came the following month in the Sydney Test against Pakistan. Later that year, Cartwright, born in Zimbabwe, but flown to Australia as a child with his family, got his ODI cap in India with his first match in the format coming at Chennai.
The heart of the matter
Following his Test debut, a second game came against Bangladesh at Chittagong, where he was a part of the side that leveled the series with a win, with the visitors having lost the first Test to record their first loss against the hosts in the format. In the same domestic campaign that preceded, in 2016-17, Cartwright again delivered with the bat to accumulate 898 runs at 52.82 in first-class cricket, which was the second-best for the season.
Overall, the handy medium-pacer, who has batted mostly at number three in domestic matches, has so far played 2 Tests and ODIs each for Australia with the potential for many more in the future.
Middlesex, who are a part of Division Two in the Championship, open their county campaign against Northamptonshire on April 13 at home at Lord's. While two other fixtures in the same division include that between Kent and Gloucestershire at Canterbury and Warwickshire and Sussex at Edgbaston, the Division One also kicks-off on the same day with as many matches.
Cartwright's arrival sees yet another foreign signing in the competition, following the likes of Mitchell Marsh, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma and Aiden Markram, among others. Though not all approve of non-English cricketers' participation in county cricket with Bob Willis expressing a strong criticism of Virat Kohli's stint with an unconfirmed side, undoubtedly, the challenging conditions, particularly for batsmen with the ball swinging and seaming much more than in other parts of the world, provide an ideal opportunity for inexperienced cricketers like Cartwright to have a go in top competitions.Published 03 Apr 2018, 13:48 IST