North Down have chosen South African Ruhan Pretorius to fill the boots of run-machine Pieter Malan at The Green next season.
Pretorius, who was the overseas professional for North Down’s rivals Waringstown during the 2015 season, was unveiled yesterday along with a second overseas signing, Carl Robinson, a leg-spinner from Zimbabwe.
Malan, who plundered a remarkable 1,094 runs at an average close to 100 last summer, will not be moving abroad next summer, so North Down chairman Peter Shields moved for Pretorius.
The South African is an all-rounder and while he is not in the class of Malan as a batsman, he will give the Comber side some threat with the new ball after their uncomfortable brush with relegation last summer.
Pretorius was the single biggest factor in Waringstown’s run to the Irish Cup final in 2015, as he hit successive centuries against Clontarf and Pembroke in the quarter and semi-finals. The Clontarf century included a remarkable six sixes in an over.
However, things turned sour between Pretorius and the villagers when he opted to return home on the eve of the Irish Cup final against Merrion and effectively ended his hopes of returning the following summer. His replacement, JP de Villiers, was the man-of-the-match as Waringstown beat Merrion at The Lawn.
Robinson, 19, meanwhile is a direct replacement for Jacob Mulder, the Australian leg-spinner, who has moved back to CIYMS after two summers at The Green. Robinson was primed to join Muckamore but the deal fell through at the last minute. He currently plays cricket in Australia.
North Down have already announced that batsman Neil Russell is returning to The Green next summer from Instonians and youngster Stuart Nelson will be joining from Cregagh.