Cricket: Bracewell nabs up-and-coming Otago speedster

Fringe Otago pace bowler James Fuller has signed a three-year deal with English county Gloucestershire but will be available for the province this summer, Volts coach Mike Hesson says.

The New Zealand Under-19 representative played two first-class games for Otago at the end of the summer with limited success.

He took two wickets for 231 runs but the athletic 20-year-old showed enough to convince Hesson he had a bright future.

However, because Fuller is recovering from corrective surgery on his ankle and will not be available until after Christmas, he was not considered for a domestic contract.

Even if he was fit he may have struggled to nab one of the 12 contracts on offer.

Former Black Caps coach and Gloucestershire director of cricket John Bracewell was impressed by Fuller's efforts at the under-19 world cup in Christchurch last summer and seized the opportunity to sign him.

The South African-born player qualifies for Gloucestershire as a home-grown player courtesy of a British passport.

But Fuller's decision to throw his hat with Gloucestershire will limit his opportunities in New Zealand.

"James has been and will continue to be a big part of our future plans, including this season," Hesson said.

"He is still able to play as an overseas player for us ... so it makes no difference to us for this season.

"Gloucester are keen that he plays as much cricket over here as he can beforehand.

"The whole idea is to get as much cricket into James over the next couple of years as possible.

"So if we can work together then it can work well for both parties.

"I think he is an excellent prospect but he has only sort of just started.

"I guess he is keen to accelerate his learning and you have to encourage him for that.

"In two or three years time, if he keeps getting the right opportunities, he could turn into a very good player."

Fuller follows in the footsteps of New Zealand cricketers Craig Spearman, Hamish Marshall and James Franklin and Otago team-mate Ian Butler, all of whom have played for Gloucestershire"James has enormous potential as a pace bowler and ball striker," Bracewell said in a press release.

"He is a genuine athlete who has chosen cricket as his profession and Gloucestershire will reap the benefit."

Fuller said he was "extremely grateful to Gloucester for having faith in me, and look forward to repaying that through my pace bowling, and all-rounder ability".