Academy graduate Tom Knight has signed a three-year professional contact with Derbyshire County Cricket Club.
The 17-year-old left-arm spinner is enjoying a run in the first team and had taken five wickets in three Friends Life t20 matches ahead of tonight’s match against Leicestershire Foxes at the County Ground.
Knight recorded a Second XI five-wicket haul against Durham late in 2010 then after signing a summer contract impressed with figures of 7-153 in a marathon spell of 45.2 overs against Leeds/Bradford MCCU last month.
A Friends Life t20 debut followed against Nottinghamshire Outlaws at Trent Bridge and Knight took the wicket of Adam Voges with his fourth delivery of the match.
The prized wicket of Ian Blackwell followed as Knight played a crucial role in the five-run victory over Durham Dynamos at the County Ground a week later.
The England and Wales Cricket Board had already recognised the youngster’s talent with a place on their Elite Development Programme by the time he caught the eye of the nation with outstanding figures of 3-16 against Worcestershire.
The three-year contract will commence at the conclusion of this season’s summer contract and will take Knight through to the end of the 2014 season.
It will include Knight taking his Level 1 and Level 2 coaching badges as well as delivering a minimum of 20 hours coaching a year to emerging cricketers in Derbyshire.
Chairman Chris Grant said: “After recently announcing our future cricket strategy which included a strong commitment to backing our home grown players, Tom is a perfect early example of the implementation of that policy.
“He earned his place in the team on merit, but once there he was given full backing as the reward has been a trio of impressive early performances.
“Having signed this new contract, Knight will now be given the club’s full support and a pathway to a long and successful career.
“Everything about this contract sets a blueprint for the way we want to progress with our young cricketers from now on.”
Head Coach Karl Krikken added: “Tom is a very talented young player and we are delighted to have secured his future as a Derbyshire cricketer.
“He has enjoyed an impressive start to life in the first team and long may that continue. Of course there will be ups and downs throughout his career but we back his talent and our judgement that he will enjoy a successful career and hopefully represent Derbyshire for many years.”