Leicestershire swoop for Burns and Ireland
Leicestershire have signed emerging Australian batsman Joe Burns and Zimbabwean seamer Anthony Ireland.
Queenslander Burns has been in impressive form this season, recording just short of 1,000 runs across all three formats, and is a replacement for West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan, whose international commitments are expected to restrict his appearances for the county he is due to captain in first-class cricket.
Sarwan will play the first five and the last four LV= County Championship games as well as the Yorkshire Bank 40 opener against Gloucestershire.
The 23-year-old Burns, who also struck 114 for Australia A against England Lions last month, will feature in the other seven championship matches, the entire Friends Life t20 and 11 YB40 fixtures between May 15 and August 30.
Burns said: "I'm very excited to get the opportunity to join Leicestershire for the 2013 season.
“In my discussions with the staff of LCCC, I feel this is a fantastic opportunity personally for myself to continue to develop my cricket and to perform at the highest level.
"I've heard great things about the club's set-up and players and I am very motivated with the ambition of promotion in the County Championship.
"I'm looking forward to joining up with the team in May and contributing to a successful and enjoyable season."
Head coach Phil Whitticase was delighted with the capture, saying: "I am really pleased that Joe is joining Leicestershire.
“He is a talented batsman with a bright future ahead of him. His availability, before departing for the 2013 Champions League at the end of August, dovetails perfectly with Ronnie Sarwan and we expect both players to make a big impact during the season."
Chief executive Mike Siddall added: "We are delighted to have signed the up-and-coming batsman Joe Burns.
"We are hoping he will have a similar impact at Grace Road as previous Australian overseas players, Brad Hodge and Michael Bevan.
“Joe is on the fringes of the Australian team and will be keen to impress during an Ashes year in England."
Former Gloucestershire and Middlesex bowler Ireland, whose 26 one-day internationals and one Twenty20 international came from 2005 to 2007, has signed a one-year contract with the club.
Whitticase said: "I have monitored and seen at first hand the performances that Anthony is capable of producing and he will provide us with additional competition and high quality support to our bowling department."