Carlos Brathwaite signs for Birmingham Bears for T20 Blast

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West Indies allrounder is likely to be club’s only overseas player for the competition

Birmingham Bears have announced the signing of Carlos Brathwaite for their T20 Blast campaign.

Brathwaite, who recently won the Big Bash League as part of the Sydney Sixers side and is currently playing for Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League, is likely to be available for the full group stage. However, he is likely to be unavailable for the knockout stages of the Blast – if the Bears qualify – due to a clash with the Caribbean Premier League.

He is likely to be the club’s only overseas player for the T20 season after the signing of Danny Briggs at the end of last season and with Jake Lintott, the left-arm wristspinner, recently signing his first professional deal. The Bears have fielded Jeetan Patel as an overseas player for a number of years, while Chris Green had been lined up to return in 2020 but looks unlikely to do so in 2021.

“Carlos is an outstanding addition to our team,” said Paul Farbrace, the club’s director of cricket. “I was part of the England coaching team in 2016 when Carlos’ four successive sixes changed the ICC T20 World Cup final, so I’m well aware of his capabilities. I’m just glad that we’ll have the benefits of his qualities now that he’s signed for the Bears.”

It is understood that Warwickshire had been in contact with several potential overseas players, including Moises Henriques, but convincing players to travel to the United Kingdom with the country still in lockdown has not proved straightforward for any county.

When he is not playing in franchise competitions, Brathwaite is based in Oxford, a 70-mile drive from Edgbaston, meaning the prospect of spending the summer in England is significantly more appealing than it might be for others. This will be his second stint in county cricket, after a spell with Kent for the 2018 Blast.

“It’s very exciting to join the Bears and to make Edgbaston my home this summer,” Brathwaite said. “I’ve heard a lot about the atmosphere and the big T20 crowds that come to Edgbaston to watch the Bears. I can’t wait to get started this summer in the Blast.

“I know that the team went very close to reaching the quarter-finals last year, but we’ve got a lot of young talent in this squad and I’m hoping that we can push on further this year. Getting to Finals Day at our home ground would be fantastic.”

Warwickshire are also currently looking for an experienced batsman as an overseas player in the Championship, to fill the gap left by Ian Bell’s retirement at the end of the 2020 season. They have been linked with a deal for Cheteshwar Pujara, though his availability is in doubt after he was signed by Chennai Super Kings in last week’s IPL auction. They will not sign an overseas player for the Royal London Cup.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98