Nottinghamshire will stick with familiar faces and a winning formula in Championship cricket in 2011, after agreeing deals with Adam Voges and David Hussey to return to Trent Bridge.
But that signals a significant shift in the county’s Twenty20 strategy, as the Australians will combine for the first time in the Friends Provident competition.
Last year Notts recruited Dirk Nannes to partner Hussey and lead their t20 attack, but this season they have given the batting a double boost leaving the door open for younger, homegrown bowlers to make an impact.
Andy Carter showed some impressive Twenty20 form in his loan stint with Essex last summer, playing in their quarter final win against Lancashire at Chelmsford, and like Jake Ball, he signed a new contract over the winter, while Luke Fletcher is another promising seamer who will push for a place.
The youngsters’ progress will be even more important following the departure of Ryan Sidebottom to Yorkshire, although Notts have signed Ben Phillips from Somerset to help fill that gap.
Director of cricket Mick Newell, who has remained in regular contact with Voges and Hussey throughout the winter but was unable to confirm their returns before he left for the Caribbean with the England Lions, believes that the Aussie pair will again make a big impact.
“The prospect of pairing them in the Friends Provident t20 is something that we’re very excited about,” he said.
Hussey’s value in Twenty20 cricket was confirmed recently when he received a $1.4m deal from King’s XI Punjab to play in the Indian Premier League. That rules him out of the early, intense weeks of the English season which will again be packed with County Championship cricket, but Notts will hope that Voges picks up where he left off in September with a crucial century in their dramatic title-clinching victory against Lancashire at Old Trafford.
The 31-year-old has made 23 first-class appearances and played in 15 t20 matches in his three previous stints at Trent Bridge. “Winning the Championship with Nottinghamshire was a major highlight of my career and I am looking forward to returning to Trent Bridge and picking up where I left off,” he said.
“Being in the same Nottinghamshire team as David Hussey will be a strange experience for me because it has been one or the other in recent seasons but we both share a real affinity for the club.”
Hussey’s relationship with Notts goes way back to 2004, and next summer will be the seventh out of eight that he has played for the county. His record is outstanding, with a first-class average of 66 and 22 centuries from his 71 appearances, and he made an unforgettable 222 from 232 balls against Yorkshire at Headingley last summer.
“I’ve built a great relationship with Mick Newell and all of the players at Notts and I am looking forward to spending more time at Trent Bridge in 2011,” said the 33-year-old, currently in India with Australia’s World Cup squad.
“It’s great that Notts give me a regular opportunity to play county cricket and I want to help the team to make a push in all three competitions.”