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Warwickshire have secured the futures of three of their players. Tim Ambrose has penned a three-year extension, while Ian Westwood and Ateeq Javid have signed on for a further two seasons.
News of Ambrose’s long-term deal is particularly significant as it marks what is hopefully the final chapter in a traumatic journey for the 29 year-old former England gloveman. Ambrose was almost forced to give up the game at the end of the 2010 season due to “personal problems” which he revealed in an emotional interview with the Daily Telegraph recently was actually depression.
Fortunately, he recovered sufficiently to earn a contract for 2011 and was, last season, a key part of Warwickshire’s Championship winning side. While he admits his battle with depression is likely to be a never-ending one, hopefully it is one he is now winning.
As for Westwood, a former captain, his extension will provide the club with a reassuring presence at the top of the order, while second XI captain Javid will hope to finally transfer his prolific run scoring in second XI cricket into the first-team.
Dougie Brown, Assistant Coach at Warwickshire CCC, said: “Tim and Ian have been key members of the senior squad for several years. They both played a major role in last season’s LV= County Championship win, and to secure their futures here at Edgbaston is a great boost for the club.
“Ateeq is an exciting, young batsman with a great future ahead of him. He’s constantly looking at ways to improve his game and has recently returned to Australia after spending last winter there. He just needs to keep working hard and grasp his opportunity to become an established member of the senior team when it comes.”
Worcestershire have followed in the footsteps of Gloucestershire by signing a member of the Armed Forces on a full-time contract. Fast-bowler Graeme Cessford, 29 year-old Corporal in the RAF, has agreed terms for 2013 after impressing for their second XI last season.
Director of Cricket, Steve Rhodes, summed up Cessford’s attributes as a bowler, saying, "Cess has the ability to bowl with pace and this will be a valuable asset in our 2013 campaign. He will give the squad some depth for bowling spots and I am looking forward to working with him."
Squadron Leader Sally Varley said, "Corporal Graeme Cessford has been granted Elite Athlete Status by the Royal Air Force. This status allows him time to realise and develop his cricket potential through the opportunity to play for Worcestershire County Cricket Club. In addition, the Royal Air Force has exceptionally adjusted Corporal Cessford's employment for a year to include a Public Relations engagement role."
Cessford added, "I'm delighted to have signed for Worcestershire for the forthcoming 2013 season. I'd like to extend a massive thank you to the Royal Air Force, the RAF Sports Board, and Worcestershire CCC for giving me this fantastic opportunity."
Cessford has also played for Northumberland in the Minor Counties Trophy, as well as for various clubs in the North-East Premier League. He will hope to fare better than David Wade, county cricket’s most recent recruit from the Armed Forces, who was released by Gloucestershire recently after two seasons on their staff.
County Cricket News In Brief:
Azhar Mahmood has agreed an early release from his Kent contract as he seeks to become a Twenty20 specialist in the various domestic competition around the world.
Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams has said that the club are in talks with overseas professionals Simon Katich and Neil McKenzie about a return to Southampton next season.
Nottinghamshire batsman Michael Lumb will again play for Champions League T20 champions Sydney Sixers in this winter’s Big Bash League in Australia.
Sussex all-rounder Kirk Wernars has agreed a one-year extension to his contract which will see him remain with the club until the end of the 2014 season.
© Cricket World 2012
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