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Kent Cricket sign Australian pace bowler Jackson Bird for the first six matches of their 2022 County Championship Division 1 campaign

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An Australian pace bowler will join Kent for up to the first six matches of their County Championship season.

Right-armer Jackson Bird is set to link up with the county following the end of Tasmania’s run in this season’s Sheffield Shield.

Kent director of cricket Paul Downton and Kent head coach Matt Walker. Picture: Ady Kerry
Kent director of cricket Paul Downton and Kent head coach Matt Walker. Picture: Ady Kerry

He has experience of County Championship cricket, having had spells with Hampshire and Nottinghamshire, while injury curtailed his chances of joining Lancashire last summer.

The 35-year-old has nine Test caps for Australia to his name but he will spend part of his 2022 summer at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, as Kent return to County Championship Division 1.

He said: “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to play County Championship cricket again.

“There is a talented bowling attack at Kent and I’m looking forward to the challenges that come with that, and helping my new team-mates get points on the board at the start of the season.”

Playing his domestic cricket for Tasmania, Bird was the highest wicket-taking seam bowler in the 2020/2021 Sheffield Shield, Australia’s premier domestic first-class competition, with 35 wickets at an average of 22.20.

His performances for his state earned him the Ricky Ponting medal from his team-mates for his efforts across both red and white-ball cricket last season.

Overall in first-class cricket, Bird has 419 wickets in 100 matches at 24.21, with an economy rate of 2.96.

Kent director of cricket Paul Downton said: “We’re delighted that Jackson will be joining us for the early matches of this year’s County Championship.

“He's an experienced bowler who will strengthen our squad as we begin our Championship campaign.

“He's a proven wicket-taker who will also be a great mentor for our young seamers, and we look forward to welcoming him to Canterbury.”

Kent will get their preparations for the new campaign under way with three two-day matches, starting with their match against Warwickshire at The Spitfire Ground on Monday, March 21.

Bird could be available for their County Championship matches against Essex, Lancashire, Hampshire, Yorkshire, Surrey and Northamptonshire before their T20 Blast defence starts.

New Zealand's Matt Henry will then return to Kent from July 10 for up to seven County Championship matches and for the Royal London Cup.

They will, however, be without captain Sam Billings for the start of the new season as he heads to the Indian Premier League to play for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

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