Test Match Sofa
Bears poised to offer Barker new deal
By Paul Bolton
Warwickshire are set to make Keith Barker an improved contract offer in an attempt to keep the improving all-rounder at Edgbaston.
Barker rejected Warwickshire’s initial contract extension at the end of last season which means that he is out of contract in September and can now be approached by other counties.
Barker’s value has increased in the first month of the season with two five-wicket hauls in three Championship matches and some valuable lower order runs.
Warwickshire’s director of cricket Ashley Giles declined to say whether Barker has been the subject of official approaches from other counties but they are likely to come up with a revised deal.
“I think we’ll be coming back with something pretty soon,” Giles said. “He is becoming a very good all-round cricketer. He’s worked a lot on his bowling with Welchy [Warwickshire bowling coach Graeme Welch].
“He’s changed from a bowler who was very good in one-day cricket when he arrived. He was quite slingy and got it into the hole at the death but now he is someone who is swinging the ball at will and presenting a lot of trouble for left and right-handers.
“He’s done a great job for us. The worries we would have had about losing Chris Woakes and Boyd Rankin at the start of the year have been eased by Chris Wright and Keith both stepping up to fill those gaps. We’ll be having a conversation real soon.
“We’ve brought Keith on and hopefully developed his game and we want to keep him here for a long time to come. It would be silly to think we’re not going to have interest in someone who is doing what he’s doing.
“He plays all forms of the game, he’s a left-armer and a left-handed bat who can smack it. He’s a pretty good package. He has backed himself and he’s come up with the goods.
“He has matured a lot as a cricketer. He knows his own game very well. When he practices, he practices very pecifically to what he needs in the game and not just what he thinks the coaches want to see.
“He’s very professional in how he looks after himself. Maybe he has learned lessons from his experience in football, but he’s been really good for us.”
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