Kent Cricket Academy scholar Hugh Bernard has signed his first professional contract.
The 18-year-old seamer represented England Under-19s in Australia this winter, taking 5-14 in Perth and will join the first-team squad.
A second-year scholar, Bernard's signing will take the number of home-grown players up to 15 in the 24-man first-team squad.
The Folkestone cricketer said: “I’m delighted to get this opportunity and I’d like to thank my family and all the coaches for their support.
“I’ll keep working hard on my game. There’s a lot of competition for places in the 1st and 2nd XI and I hope to learn from training and playing with experienced teammates.”
Chairman of cricket Graham Johnson said: “Hugh has developed into an extremely exciting talent to date and thoroughly merits his contract with Kent Cricket. Yet another local Kent player who joins so many others in the Kent squad.
“He has shown his potential and performed at the highest level thus far and we really hope that this continues at the professional level.”
High performance director Simon Willis said: “It’s been great to see Hugh's improvement in his two years at the Kent Cricket Academy.
“He’s developed as a person and a player and joins the growing list of graduates who have made the transition to the first team squad over the last 12 years.
“This continues to show that the talent pathway is providing the right environment for our young players to become professional cricketers.
“He’s an exciting talent and he’s one to watch if he continues the hard work that has earned him this opportunity.”