New signing Garry Park tipped to shine for Norfolk County Cricket Club in 2014
- Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2010
Captain Chris Brown is confident all-rounder Garry Park can fill the void left by Norfolk stalwart Trevor Ward.
The 46-year-old decided to retire from all forms of cricket at the end of last season forcing the Minor Counties outfit to recruit a new professional ahead of the forthcoming campaign.
That man is South-African born Park, 30, and Norfolk's skipper admits he is delighted to have convinced the former Cambridgeshire player to star for their cross-county rivals in 2014.
Brown, who oversaw Norfolk's first nets session of the year on Saturday, said: 'I've played against Garry a couple of times and I know his brothers quite well.
'With Trevor retiring at the end of last season we had to find a replacement. First and foremost we needed a good bloke to fit into the environment we have created over the past few years. Having spoken to quite a lot of professionals and ex-professionals and people who have coached him they said he's not only an excellent cricketer but also a top bloke.
'I was doing some coaching for the ECB at Derbyshire just after Christmas and I spoke to a few lads who have played with him and they couldn't recommend him highly enough. I met him a couple of Mondays ago and we agreed terms for the new season.
'Wardy has been a superb pro on and off the field and he is a guy who was always going to be difficult to replace, but so was Steve Goldsmith before him. I'm sure Parky will do well for us, and see this as a long-term thing, and go on to be a part of what we're doing for a good few years.'
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Park scored his maiden first-class hundred in the final match of the 2006 season when his 125-ball century against Yorkshire ensured Durham avoided relegation. But he found his opportunities limited and moved on to Derbyshire at the end of the 2008 term. Although he was born in Africa, the right-handed batsman and medium-fast bowler, has played all his competitive cricket in the UK. He has represented England during Test matches as a substitute fielder a couple of times following his first appearance against his country of birth in 2008.
'I remember being at the other end when he put Sam Arthurton on his backside with a bouncer,' said Brown of Park's bowling during a derby match against Cambs a few years ago.
'He bowled quite a fiery spell at Sam and I but we managed to bat out the rest of the day. He's got some pace. Garry is an exceptional fielder, a free-scoring batsman and he can bowl quickly. He's a good lad and I'm sure he'll go on to be a good acquisition for the club.'
Park's top first-class score was an unbeaten 178 for Derbyshire in 2009 while he has scored a total of 2,354 runs. During those 47 matches he also took 18 wickets at an average of 54.11.
Full name: Garry Terence Park
Born: Empangeni, Natal, South Africa
Right hand batsman
Right arm medium fast bowler
Major teams: Derbyshire, Durham, Unicorns, Cambridge UCCE, Cambridgeshire
First Class Debut: Cambridge UCCE v Essex, April 12, 2003
Last First Class match: Derbyshire v Leicestershire, April 14-16, 2011
Highest First Class score: 178no Derbyshire v Kent, September 2009
Best First Class bowling figures: 3-25 Derbyshire v Surrey, April 2009