sport

Derbyshire hand Cotton deal

Young bowler Ben Cotton has been rewarded with a two-year professional deal with Derbyshire.

The 20-year-old recently made his first-team breakthrough and has taken six wickets in his six senior appearances so far.

Cotton was named Academy Player of the Year in 2013 and has been a regular in the Second XI for the last three seasons.

The county's elite performance director Graeme Welch told the county's website: "Our plan for bringing future success revolves around proven match-winners alongside home-grown talent.

"With that in mind, it's great to have a number of Academy graduates breaking into the squad.

"The next step is to work with these guys and helping them push onto the next level and start getting in the frame for England honours.

"I have been impressed with Ben ever since I arrived at the club and this is reward for his great promise, work ethic and for always wanting to learn.

"The progress Ben has made in such a short period has been rapid.

"Having spent last season captaining the Academy team, this summer he found himself opening the bowling against India and his opening spell against the likes of (Shikhar) Dhawan, (Rohit) Sharma and (Virat) Kohli was very impressive."

Cotton added: "If you'd told me at the start of the year that I'd make first team debuts in both one-day competitions – and earn a professional contract – I'd have been delighted with that, so it's been a great year.

"Being with the first-team has helped me learn and get more confident. Hopefully I can earn a regular place in the starting team and enjoy some success.

"Being part of the team that made it through to the quarter-final of the Royal London One-Day Cup – and playing in the big match itself – was a standout achievement. It's made me hungry to play in more."