Warwickshire have moved to reinforce their red ball bowling attack with the overseas signing of New Zealand pacer Michael Rae.

The right arm quick – who’s taken 154 wickets in 54 First Class appearances – has signed a short term contract and is in line to make his debut at Essex on Friday.

Rae achieved cult hero status during his nine years with New Zealand First Class side Otago where he took 210 wickets across all formats, including a best in List A of 7-35 against Auckland.

He was named the club’s Bowler of the Year in 2022-23 and the 28-year-old – who’s also played for New Zealand A – is keen to make an early impression with the Bears.

“I’m excited to get out there and do what’s brought me success in the past,” said the 28-year-old, who’s known in New Zealand for his trademark headband.

“If you ask people in Otago about me I reckon they’d say I’m a tall, six foot six, a bowler who hits the wicket hard and upsets a few batters!

“The privilege to sign for Warwickshire is not lost on me. I’m very proud to be given the opportunity, not just to represent an English county, but one with such a prestigious past. I’ll be giving my all to represent the Club as well as I can.”

Warwickshire’s bowling attack has suffered a series of injury setbacks since the start of the season with Chris Rushworth, Liam Norwell, Michael Booth and now Craig Miles – who twisted his ankle at Surrey on Saturday – all sidelined.

And following the unexpected call-up of Hassan Ali to Pakistan’s tour of Ireland and England, Performance Director Gavin Larsen said the Club were keen to bring in more firepower.

“Michael is a quality bowler with a proven First Class pedigree,” added Larsen. “He was with us for two days last week, joined the lads in training and impressed. He’s a real character and integrated into the squad straight away.

“I’ve seen a lot of him back in New Zealand and he’s been on the Blackcaps’ selection radar for some time, having played with New Zealand A.

“He’s a big guy, fiery, has good pace and is an excellent addition to our squad.”

Four Teams. Two Matches. Blast Off is back!

Vitality Blast Off is back and the Bears will launch their home T20 campaign with a huge men’s double-header featuring two big Midlands rivalry games.

Taking place on Saturday 1 June, Derbyshire Falcons host Leicestershire Foxes (2.30pm) before the Bears take on Notts Outlaws (6.30pm). Buy tickets in advance and save.

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