Welch extends Leicestershire stay

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Nick Welch

Big-hitting batsman Nick Welch has ended speculation linking him with the Zimbabwe cricket team after signing a contract extension with the English County Championship side Leicestershire.

Discussing his new deal, Welch, who is currently playing for Zimbabwean first-class side Alliance Health Eagles in the Pro50 Championship said: “I am delighted to be continuing my journey with LCCC. It is a privilege to be playing and working with some amazing cricketers, and my game is going from strength to strength.

“I am looking forward to a productive winter working with the coaches, particularly James Taylor, as I am sure his knowledge of the game will be immensely beneficial to my progression.

“I am excited to contribute to winning games for the Club in 2023 and hopefully take home some silverware.”

Director of Cricket, Claude Henderson, added: “Nick has shown great potential in the white-ball formats, especially in T20 cricket.

“Now is a great opportunity for Nick to show what he is capable of and establish himself as a regular player.”

The Harare-born former Zimbabwe youth international has featured on 22 occasions for the Foxes, with a headline score of 127 not out recorded in this summer’s Royal London Cup victory over Surrey.

Welch debuted against Durham during the 2020 Vitality Blast campaign, and averages 30.44 while striking at 132.26 in the shortest format.

The big-hitting opener best displayed his T20 pedigree when helping to transform the fortunes of the Foxes’ 2022 Blast campaign.

Welch finished with a 100%-win record, as the team won each of their final five group stage fixtures, while he topped the Club’s batting average chart with 173 runs at 43.25, complimented by an eye-catching strike rate of 158.71.

The 24-year-old’s white-ball prowess was also evident during August’s Royal London Cup, with his maiden hundred secured in Leicestershire’s seven-wicket opening-round win against Surrey.

Welch’s career-best tasted even sweeter given the misfortune he suffered during 2021’s RL50 opener, in which the Zimbabwean was stretched from the field after dislocating his right knee.

The right-hander made his County Championship bow for the Foxes during 2022, debuting against Durham at Chester-le-Street in April.

His red-ball potential was evident in this year’s Second XI Championship, where Welch averaged 43.63 from his eight innings, passing fifty on four occasions.

Welch’s initial contract with Leicestershire eventuated after a string of impressive performances for the Second XI during 2019, which saw him post 404 runs in six matches at an average of 80.80.

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