HAMPSHIRE have signed Warwickshire all-rounder and former Blackburn Rovers striker Keith Barker.

The left-arm all-rounder is expected to sign a two-year deal after turning down a similar-length contract at Edgbaston.

Barker, 32 next month, played in League Two for Rochdale in 2006/07, scoring one goal in 13 starts shortly after Saints legend Rickie Lambert left the club, before moving to Ewood Park.

He did not pay a first team game for Blackburn and in 2009 began his county cricket career with Warwickshire before playing a key role in the Bears winning the 2012 Championship title.

Barker did not feature in Warwickshire's T20 side this year but has an outstanding first-class record of 357 wickets at 25.51.

That includes 39 at just 17.23 apiece during Warwickshire's division two title triumph this year. 

A genuine all-rounder, his 3,552 runs at an average of 28.64 include six centuries.

Hampshire director of cricket Giles White  said: "Keith has a very good record and as a left armer he offers something different which helps.

"He’ll be a great addition, he's averaged 24 [with the ball] over the last three years and 17 as we speak this year and contributed with the bat.

"He brings experience which will help push younger guys coming through, [Brad] Wheal and [Ryan] Stevenson in particular.

"I see him as a bowling all-rounder. Depth of bowling is key."

"We have Mason Crane waiting in the wings and we’re desperate to get him going after a tough year with injury.

"But to get him in the team, if the wicket is conducive, it might mean having a different balance and bowlers that can bat might allow us to do that."

Barker said: “I'm very excited to be taking on a new challenge at Hampshire but would like to thank everyone at Warwickshire who has helped me along the way, especially Graeme Welch who made a big difference to my bowling early in my career. 

“I would like to wish them the best for the future.”

Ashley Giles, Sport Director at Warwickshire CCC, said: “Keith has made a huge impact in his time at Edgbaston, winning trophies across all three forms of the game and forming a potent new ball partnership with Chris Wright, which will be remembered fondly by our members and supporters for years to come.

“With Chris also departing to join Leicestershire, it’s the end of an era and we’re thrilled that both players are able to move on having helped secure our return to division one.

“Having been with the club for ten seasons, Keith has wanted to look at all of his options in the game and he leaves Edgbaston with the best wishes of everyone, having proudly represented the Bear and Ragged Staff and contributed to four major trophy wins.”