Gloucestershire hail Marcus Harris signing as ‘big statement of intent’


Australian opener joins from Leicestershire on all-format, two-year deal

Gloucestershire have billed the signing of Marcus Harris, the Australian opener, as a “big statement of intent” after convincing him to join on an all-format, two-year contract as an overseas player.

Harris, 29, spent the 2021 summer playing for Leicestershire in the County Championship and the Royal London Cup but turned down two improved offers from the club and said that the opportunity to play in the T20 Blast for Gloucestershire was a major factor in his decision-making.

“The signing of Marcus Harris is a big statement of intent from the club,” Will Brown, their chief executive, said. “We are heading into next year off the back of a season in which we won more County Championship matches than any other county and the most in our history since 1998, but we want to be fighting for trophies.

“Marcus is an ambitious player with a huge amount of talent and we are delighted that he has seen the vision of the club and wants to be a part of that over the next two years.”

Leicestershire released a statement last week saying that Harris had “received and intends to accept a substantial offer from another county” and Sean Jarvis, their chief executive, stressed that the club “have to work within our budget and sustain our business in the appropriate way”.

Harris made 655 Championship runs at 54.58 in 13 innings for Leicestershire and 232 runs in four Royal London Cup innings, but was not involved in their Blast campaign as the club opted to sign a T20 specialist in Josh Inglis – who finished as the competition’s leading run-scorer – instead. Harris last played T20 cricket in January 2020 and has limited pedigree in the format, though Gloucestershire cited his 2017-18 Big Bash, in which he was Melbourne Renegades’ leading run-scorer, as evidence that he was “capable of performing in the shortest format”.

“I’m delighted to sign for Gloucestershire for the next two years at what is a really exciting time for the club,” Harris said. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about the club and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.

“The other aspect that attracted me to Bristol is the opportunity to play in the T20 Blast for the very first time. I’d also like to thank Leicestershire for giving me my first opportunity to play county cricket – I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and I wish them all the very best for next season.”

Gloucestershire are in the process of recruiting a new performance director, head coach and club captain ahead of next season, with the first two positions expected to be filled in the coming weeks.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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