Worcestershire all-rounder Ross Whiteley, who has developed into one of the most destructive batsmen in the country in white ball cricket, has signed a new four year contract with the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finalists.
Whiteley, who is also starting to impress with the bat in the LV = County Championship, had one season remaining of his initial three year deal but has now put pen to paper on a contract up until the end of the 2019 campaign.
It is the second major boost for the County inside 24 hours after wicket-keeper batsman Joe Clarke committed himself to a new three year contract following his excellent form since breaking into the first team.
Whiteley joined Worcestershireshire initially mid-way through the 2013 season from Derbyshire after Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes had identified his potential when on the receiving end of a couple of short but explosive knocks.
A demonstration of that budding talent was evident when Whiteley smashed 84 off 38 balls with nine sixes against Derbyshire at New Road last summer to help seal a T20 Blast quarter-final spot.
But this season Whiteley has produced that sort of form on a more consistent basis culminating in an incredible display of clean hitting against Yorkshire at Headingley when he hit 91 not out off 35 deliveries with 11 sixes in a televised T20 Blast enounter.
He ended the group stages of the competition with a total of 27 sixes – a figure only bettered by Chris Gayle and Luke Wright with 29 apiece – and a strike rate of 175.88.
Whiteley has also started to transfer his fine form into the longer versions of the game, scoring a century against New Zealand, another hundred against LV = CC champions and leaders Yorkshire at Scarborough and 78 this week versus Notttinghamshire at New Road.
Whiteley said: "I'm really excited about what the next four years holds for me at Worcester. I've really enjoyed my cricket over the last couple of years here and to have that opportunity to stay for another four years is massive for me.
"It's great that someone has that confidence in me. My move from Derby when Bumpy (Steve Rhodes) took me on initially for three years showed a lot of confidence in me, having not seen that much of me play.
"Again to sign me on another long term contract backs that up. Hopefully I can keep delivering on the pitch for him over the next four years.
"I feel I am progressing as a player. It has been a tough couple of years for me in the red ball stuff and only recently has that been paying off.
"I just generally think my cricket as a whole is improving, and has improved during my time here and working with the coaches here has been great."
Rhodes said: "For all the people who have seen Ross Whiteley bat this year, they have been very impressed with the way he hits the ball -and I think he is not just impressing now our local supporters but people higher up.
"He is a match-winner with the potential to play well in all formats and I'm delighted to have him on board for another lengthy period of time via this new contract.
"We want to keep our good players and to have Ross with us for another four years is unbelievably fantastic news.
"He is also very capable of playing four-day cricket. Anyone at Scarborough would have seen a wonderful innings against table-topping Yorkshire and a good attack and he backed that up this week with a good score against Nottinghamshire.
"His four-day batting plans are coming together and we are very pleased to have secured his services."