Sam Northeast: Hampshire sign Kent batsman on a four-year contract

Sam Northeast
Sam Northeast has a batting average of 39.66 in first-class cricket

Hampshire have signed Kent middle-order batsman Sam Northeast on a four-year contract.

Northeast, 28, turned down a contract extension in January and as many as eight counties are believed to have been interested in his signature.

The right-hander scored 1,017 runs in the County Championship last season, including three centuries.

"I'm hugely excited about joining Hampshire," Northeast said. "It's a club and team with a bright future."

Northeast took over the Kent captaincy from Rob Key in 2016 and made his first-class debut for the county aged 17.

Sam Billings became skipper in all formats at Canterbury last month.

Kent have received an undisclosed amount of compensation from Hampshire as Northeast had one year left on his contract with them.

"I've had a really enjoyable 10 years at Kent and would like to wish the club and its supporters the best of luck for the future," he said.

"It was an honour to be the captain for three years and I leave the club with many happy memories.

"I hope this move will also help me push on to fulfil my dream of playing for England."

Hampshire meanwhile will need to appoint a new four-day captain with George Bailey opting not to return to the county for the second year of his contract.

Australia batsman Bailey, 35, and his wife Katie are expecting their second child in April.

Bailey shared the Hampshire captaincy last season with England batsman James Vince, who led the county in one-day competitions.