Barker commits future to Ageas Bowl

By Connor Steel

HAMPSHIRE CRICKET have announced that their prolific all-rounder Keith Barker has signed a new 2-year contract extension and will now stay at the Ageas Bowl until the end of 2024; the ever-green star sealing the deal last week following consistent red-ball displays with bat and ball through this 2022 cricketing campaign.

The thirty-six year old featured in the County Championship and was part of a lethal seam trio that took over 150 wickets from fourteen matches; himself taking 52 dismissals at an average of 22.38. He also took three five-wicket spells such as 6-27 against Somerset at Taunton and added 595 runs batting in the lower order.

These saw the all-rounder seal the Fans’ Player of the Year and Red Ball Bowler of the Year in Hampshire’s 2022 End of Season Awards; the latter shared with swing bowler Kyle Abbott. He was also honoured by the PCA as the County Championship Player of the Year and given a place in the Men’s 2022 Team of the Year.

Barker has made himself into a fan favourite since joining the Ageas Bowl for the 2019 season, leaving rivals Warwickshire after a nine-year stint across all three formats. In his lengthy time at Edgbaston he played in a total of 240 matches scoring 4,497 runs and taking 497 wickets in a profitable period for the Midlands’ outfit.

His reputation continued at Hampshire as he took thirty-seven dismissals and scored 357 runs in his opening season at the Ageas Bowl, the second campaign proving frustrating due to injuries combined with the Covid-19 pandemic. This led to just two county appearances that summer, both as part of the 1st Bob Willis Trophy.

But he came back firing in the 2021 summer as Hampshire narrowly missed out on the red-ball title following an one wicket loss against Lancashire, the all-rounder taking forty-one wickets at an average of 18.41. This figure included a career-best haul of 7-46 against Nottinghamshire whilst he also scored 379 runs off the bat.

In a statement Barker said: “It’s a brilliant feeling. The Club have been amazing with me ever since I joined, I can’t think of anywhere else I would want to play my cricket. I get on really well with all the players & all the coaching staff, & I’m looking forward to building on the success we had this season over the next two years.”

Giles White, Hampshire Director of Cricket, added to the excitement by saying: “I can’t speak highly enough of Keith; he has been great for us over the (last three) years. As well as being a wonderfully skilful and also consistent performer, he has become a popular and influential figure (for everybody else) around the Club.”

At the time of writing Hampshire haven’t announced any further signatures or updates as they continue their preparations for the new season, which is not due to start until April 2023. There is also little information on when new fixtures are scheduled for release, with supporters asked to regularly check the county’s website.

PICTURED BY ALAMY (2C9N6EW): Barker bowls in 2020 match between Sussex and Hampshire in Hove.