SOUTH African hot prospect Colin Ackermann will be Netherfield Cricket Club’s professional for 2013 after signing for the Parkside Road outfit this week.
Netherfield captain Marc Brown said Ackermann was the club’s ‘number one target’ during the winter, and he thinks the South African, who will be 22 when the season begins, could form a crucial role in his side’s pursuit of honours this season.
Ackermann is a genuine all-rounder, and is likely to operate in the number three batsman role for Netherfield this season. The youngster also bowls tidy off-spin.
“He was the number one target that we set out to find in September,” said Brown.
“We wanted somebody young and hungry for success and from the first contact we had with his agent we were very keen to get him on board.
“He played in the under-19 world cup in 2010 against the likes of Ben Stokes and a few others who have gone on to make it, and he had a really good under-19 spell where he got quite a few tons.
“I’m relieved at getting this done - it’s harder than you would think signing somebody because you have to get paperwork and clearance sorted, but I’m really pleased that he has signed.”
Brown added that the move was in doubt at one point because of county clubs threatening to claim his signature, but Netherfield in the end got their man.
Brown also said that Ackermann came with good references from club legend Pieter Strydom.
Ackermann follows a long tradition of South African professionals at Netherfield, which includes Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs and last year’s pro, Cobus Pienaar.
Ackermann is the product of Grey High School in Port Elizabeth, with whom he toured England, and was the leading run-scorer in the CSA Under-19 three-day competition in 2009, where he averaged 200 with two centuries.
Ackermann made his provincial debut for Eastern Province in October 2010 and hit his straps the following season (2011/12), cracking 602 runs at 40.13 (plus seven wickets at 24.85) and 273 runs at 68.25 in first-class and list-A respectively.
He also broke into the Warriors side in the MiWay Pro20 Franchise Competition, where he maintained his reputation as one of the most promising youngsters in South Africa courtesy of productive performances with bat and ball.
To continue his cricketing development, he spent eight weeks plying his trade in England for Kibworth Cricket Club and the Leicestershire 2XI.
He excelled for both sides, helping the Leicestershire Premier League outfit reach two Cup finals (most notably taking figures of 6-7 in the Challenge Cup) and hitting two hundreds in the Premier League.
In his one appearance for the Foxes Seconds, he top-scored in a dramatic match against Northants, scoring 73 in a low-scoring affair.
Ackermann is expected to arrive in the country one week before the season begins in April.