Xavier Bartlett at Kent – Cricket Australia withdraw NOC


Cricket Australia have blocked Xavier Bartlett from playing in the County Championship for Kent, denying him a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) shortly after offering him his first national contract.
Bartlett had a breakout season in the 2023-24 Australian summer, making his ODI and T20I debuts against West Indies in February and taking 20 wickets – the most in the competition – in Brisbane Heat’s Big Bash League season. His impressive performances earned him a first central contract, which was announced by CA last week.
He was due to play around five Championship games for Kent in the early stages of the season but has been denied permission by CA, in order to manage his workload. Nathan Lyon’s stint with Lancashire was recently reduced significantly for the same reason, though CA have denied that they were behind Aaron Hardie’s withdrawal from his contract with Surrey.

Bartlett’s initial deal covered at least eight T20 Blast fixtures and Kent are awaiting confirmation as to whether he will be made available for that competition.

Simon Cook, Kent’s director of cricket, said: “National boards are always going to protect their best assets, so it wasn’t a shock when we received news from Cricket Australia that they would be withdrawing his NOC. This decision has potentially not ruled him out for the Vitality Blast, and we’re continuing to discuss our options with Cricket Australia.”

In Bartlett’s absence, Kent have signed South African allrounder Beyers Swanepoel on a contract which covers all formats and runs from May 1 until the end of the 2024 season. Swanepoel, 25, was part of the Sunrisers Eastern Cape squad that won the SA20 earlier this year and will be playing in county cricket for the first time.

“We’re really excited by the potential that Beyers has and what he can offer us this season,” Cook said. “We looked very carefully at him earlier in the year but at that stage he hadn’t played the required games to qualify as a viable overseas signing for us. He’s a genuine allrounder who provides extra batting depth for us across all formats – a gap that we’ve looked to fill with our overseas players this year.”

Swanepoel said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to join a historic county side such as Kent and to play in all formats of the English county game. I hope to learn a lot whilst I’m here amongst a very talented squad. I spoke to former Kent overseas players before I signed and they couldn’t recommend Kent highly enough as a place to come and improve my game in English conditions.”

Kent will start the season with Wes Agar as their only available overseas player, and face Somerset at Canterbury in the opening round of fixtures on Friday.


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