Luke Wells has signed for Lancashire on a two-year deal.
Wells, a top-order batsman who was tipped for England recognition not so long ago and has 18 first-class hundreds to his name, was somewhat surprisingly released by Sussex at the end of the season.
Wells finished the 2017 season as the club’s highest County Championship run-scorer, averaging 64.60 in the competition that year. But he was unable to sustain such form over the next couple of seasons – he averaged in the mid-20s – and was not selected for a single Bob Willis Trophy match in 2020, with Sussex picking a developmental side. Having hardly played limited-overs cricket in recent years – he averages 11.60 in the List A game and just 3.60 in T20 – Wells found his old-school, obdurate style of batting a little out of a fashion at Hove.
For Lancashire, however, that may be just what is required. While the club gained promotion back into the Championship’s top division at the end of 2019, they could not manage a single first-class century in 2020 and finished third in the North Group of the Bob Willis Trophy.
The scheduling of the Hundred could also favour him. With the tournament set to be played at the same time as the domestic List A competition, he could well have another opportunity to impress in the white-ball game. There was a time, not so long ago, when his legspin was seen as a useful tool in limited-overs cricket; in the 2018 season, only four men bowled more deliveries for Sussex in the Royal London One-Day Cup.
“Luke’s record in first-class cricket speaks for itself,” said Paul Allot, Lancashire’s director of cricket. “He is a skilled batsman who values his wicket and has the ability to bat long periods of time. The opportunity to sign a player of his quality does not come around every day and was one we could not pass up on.”
Lancashire have also announced the signing of former Nottinghamshire seamer Jack Blatherwick on a two-year-deal, following the retirement of Graham Onions and with Toby Lester released at the end of the season.
Blatherwick played a number of times for England Under-19s in 2017, but struggled for game time at Trent Bridge, making only five first-team appearances.
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