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Leicestershire agree Hoggard deal

Matthew Hoggard
Matthew Hoggard was a key part of England's successful 2005 Ashes team

Leicestershire have headed off interest from Division One counties to sign former England paceman Matthew Hoggard.

The 32-year-old, who was released by Yorkshire at the end of last season despite being their top wicket-taker, has agreed a three-year contract.

Hoggard, who was being chased by several other sides, including Sussex and Essex, has also been named captain.

"I'm excited about joining Leicestershire and taking charge of a young, talented squad," said Hoggard.

"I was flattered by the amount of interest and support shown towards me from all quarters.

"But Leicestershire really stood out in terms of offering something different - and at this stage of my career it will provide the new challenge I want."

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Hoggard, an Ashes winner in 2005, surprisingly lost his Test place during the tour of New Zealand in March 2008.

Perhaps more surprisingly, given that he had been a consistent performer for so long for England, he never regained it, losing his ECB central contract a few months later.

He was then off-loaded by Yorkshire in October, a decision which infuriated the Pudsey-born pro, after his 43 wickets had spearheaded the county's successful battle against relegation from the top flight of the County Championship.

Leicestershire have rarely threatened to gain promotion from the lower tier in recent seasons, but with Will Jefferson, James Benning and the Australian all-rounder Andrew McDonald also moving to Grace Road, Hoggard hopes to inspire a new culture of achievement.

He's somebody everyone went out to sign, and we managed to get the name on the dotted line today

Foxes coach Tim Boon

"I've always wanted to test myself and I feel I still have a huge amount to offer the game," he said. "Working with Tim Boon, I hope we can take Leicestershire onwards and upwards."

Head coach Boon told BBC Radio Leicester: "It's a great signing, a great coup for the county. Somebody who is reliable and, in the past, very injury free.

"He's somebody everyone went out to sign, and we managed to get the name on the dotted line.

"I've worked with Matthew before within the England set-up - we're going to make him captain and I look forward to renewing that partnership again."



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