New captain Voges will be first of three Middlesex signings
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Middlesex are closing in on another two new signings after persuading Australian batsman Adam Voges to return to Lord’s as their new four-day captain.
Voges, who stood in for Chris Rogers as the club’s overseas player for part of the 2013 campaign, has signed a one-year contract to replace his countryman again next season.
However, Middlesex will also sign another batsman to take over from the prolific Rogers at the top of the order – as well as an all-rounder – during the coming weeks.
Managing director of cricket Angus Fraser has stressed that Rogers could play for Middlesex again in the future, but the left-hander’s probable selection for next summer’s Ashes series prompted the club to search for captaincy alternatives.
“Some people felt we should have waited for longer but we weren’t going to find out about Chris one way or the other for a while,” said Fraser.
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“We expect him to be picked [by Australia] and the fact is that, if we’d carried on waiting until January, the list of potential replacements would just get smaller. It was important for us to make a decision now.
“Adam is the first of the balls to drop, if you like, but we’ve got other potential signings that we’re pursuing and I’m very excited about those as well.
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“We expect Adam to be batting in the middle order, so we’re exploring options for another top-order batsman, as well as trying to fill the Gareth Berg role with either a batsman who can bowl or a bowler who can bat.
“Performing well in white-ball cricket next year is a big issue for us and we want players who join us to contribute in all forms of the game. We’re trying to put last season to bed and things seem to be taking shape.”
Voges is currently captaining his native Western Australia state side, who are coached by former Middlesex captain Justin Langer and lost the final of last year’s Sheffield Shield, but triumphed in domestic 20-over and 50-over competitions.
The 35-year-old played in four County Championship matches during his previous spell at Middlesex and hit a total of 383 runs, at an average of just under 55.
Before settling on Voges, the club also considered expanding the remit of limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan to include four-day fixtures as well, but it was felt that the left-hander’s England involvement might make that impractical.
“I think we’ve moved around a bit,” Fraser added. “We had some discussions about the captaincy at the end of the season and at the moment we’re not sure how the international fixture list will affect us.
“Eoin missed quite a bit of red-ball cricket last season – which wasn’t his fault – but we felt that, if he was going to do the job, was it right in those circumstances?
“It’s important to have good stability at the top and we knew Adam well. We’ve obviously noted the success he’s had with Western Australia and the conversations I’ve had with Justin Langer confirmed that.”
Middlesex have also appointed David Houghton as their new batting coach after Mark Ramprakash, who had filled that role for the last two seasons, was asked to take on a similar position with the England side.
And there has been further good news for the club on the batting front, with England Test opener Sam Robson signing a one-year extension to his contract and 20-year-old prospect Nick Gubbins agreeing a three-year deal.