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Carlos Brathwaite to return to Birmingham Bears as T20 Blast captain

Carlos Brathwaite has been a potent force with the ball in the Blast PA Images via Getty Images

Carlos Brathwaite will return to Birmingham Bears as the team's overseas T20 player and captain for next year's Vitality Blast.

Brathwaite, the West Indies allrounder who has previously captained his country in T20Is and the Patriots in the CPL, will be available for the entire 2022 campaign, having helped the Bears reach the quarter-finals for the first time in four years last season, his first with the club.

He was the leading wicket taker for the Bears in the 2021 Vitality Blast, taking 18 scalps at an average of 17.61. Brathwaite also scored 183 runs, including 52 in an unbroken sixth-wicket partnership of 104 with Sam Hain to secure a home win over local rivals Worcestershire Rapids. He also smashed 44 off 18 balls against Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge.

"Edgbaston is a very special place to play at and it was great to get a taste of the atmosphere last year," Brathwaite said. "Hopefully we can welcome thousands more fans to get the Eric Hollies Stand rocking next year and make Edgbaston the real fortress for the Bears which it's renowned for."

Paul Farbrace, Warwickshire's director of cricket, said that awarding the captaincy to the vastly experienced Brathwaite - who has also won the BBL with Sydney Sixers, played for Multan Sultans in the PSL and, most recently, CPL side Jamaica Tallawahs - "removes some pressure from Will Rhodes as club captain".

"Will can play with a lot more freedom as a result," Farbrace said. "Carlos gets exactly what we are trying to achieve in T20 cricket. We want to play brave and entertaining cricket, that gets the crowd excited, and there's never a dull moment with Carlos with either bat or ball in his hand. He's a match winner.

"Since joining earlier this year, Carlos has been a great addition to the dressing room and he is popular with all of the squad... his experience of playing, and winning, some of the biggest short-form tournaments in the world has been invaluable in supporting the development of our young players."

Meanwhile, Will Beer has signed a T20-only contract with Sussex for next year.

Beer, the 33-year-old legspinner, is the Sharks' leading wicket-taker in the format, with 106 wickets in 131 appearances over the past 14 seasons. He had hoped to play all three formats for the club in 2022, but said the single-format deal would allow him to pursue other opportunities, including at franchises elsewhere throughout the year.

Beer played just one Championship match and six Royal London One-Day Cup games for Sussex in 2021. He played 13 Blast games last season, taking nine wickets with an economy rate of 7.77.

"I had hoped to carry on playing in all formats, but I am still grateful to have the opportunity to continue my cricketing career at Sussex with this T20 contract," Beer said in a statement released by the club on Tuesday.

"This deal allows me to focus all my efforts on T20 and be the best player in that format I possibly can to give the team the best chance of winning games and ultimately the title. I'll also have the time and opportunity now to think about other ventures, both for life after cricket but also in the numerous tournaments around the world that take place all year round."