Hawks sign death bowler Ellis for Blast

By Connor Steel

HAMPSHIRE HAWKS have confirmed the signing of Australian fast bowler Nathan Ellis from Hobart Hurricanes for their upcoming Vitality Blast campaign due to start later this summer, with the popular ‘death bowler’ becoming the second overseas player to join from the Big Bash League franchise for 2022 following the signing of batsman Ben McDermott from Down Under in February.

The twenty-seven year old has seen a rapid rise since first being named in the Hurricanes’ squad for their Abu Dhabi T20 Trophy, making his debut versus Qalandars in October 2018 as he took one wicket for 28 runs off his four overs. He also added 11 runs from six balls with the bat as his side unfortunately lost by a thirty-five run margin in the competition’s Group A opener.

From this point Ellis never looked back and his impressive Twenty-20 performances saw him signed by Tasmania, making his List A debut in September 2019 against Victoria as he took three wickets for 35 in the Marsh Cup. He soon made his first appearance for the club against Western Australia in February 2020, taking six wickets across both innings in a Sheffield Shield victory.

Despite good displays across the three formats it was the shorter form that has allowed Ellis to improve his reputation as he has helped the Hurricanes to secure mid-table positions in the Big Bash League for the last three campaigns losing two eliminator finals. The bowler has so far made 39 appearances for this side taking forty four wickets at an average of 26.20 runs per dismissal.

Last summer Ellis was called up to represent Australia in their tour of Bangladesh where he became the first ever player to take a hat-trick on debut in an international twenty-20 encounter; his nation eventually losing by ten runs at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium. His brilliant debut then saw him picked as injury cover for the ICC Word Cup, his nation winning the competition in Dubai with victory over New Zealand in November after the event was postponed for a year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Ellis was selected for his country’s ODI squad for their tour of Pakistan and has played two games in Lahore earlier this week; taking two wickets including home captain Babar Azam after the batsman had hit a century on Thursday afternoon. He is also expected to play in the 2nd match to be played tomorrow (April 2) at the same stadium before a Twenty-20 encounter between the two sides next week.

Upon the conclusion of international duty Ellis will travel for the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Punjab Kings for the 2022 edition, before travelling to England to prepare for Hampshire’s Vitality Blast opener versus Middlesex on May 27. It is unclear on how many games the bowler will play as Australia travel to Sri Lanka for three ODIs and another IT20 series in June, but excitement was felt by both player and county.

Ellis said in a statement on the Hampshire Cricket website: “I’m excited to play in this summer’s Vitality Blast and for a team with the rich history of the Hawks. I have heard great things about The Ageas Bowl and the Hawks fans and am looking forward to a memorable summer in Hampshire.”

Director of Cricket Giles White followed this in a comment on behalf of Hampshire by saying: “We are excited that Nathan is joining us for this summer’s Vitality Blast. He comes to us with a growing reputation as a death bowler and we look forward to seeing him in the Hawks yellow in May.”

Meanwhile Hampshire will open their County Championship campaign versus Somerset at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday (April 7) following three pre-season friendless played in the last fortnight. The scorecard from their last game versus Loughborough UCCE finishing on Wednesday can be seen here.

PICTURED BY CRICINFO: Nathan Ellis celebrates one of three wickets in Big Bash League encounter between Hobart Hurricanes and Brisbane Heat on New Year’s Day 2022.