Surrey have continued their process of squad strengthening in preparation for life in Division One of the LV= County Championship by securing the services of Matt Spriegel and Chris Jordan on new one-year contracts. It follows last week’s news of a new two-year contract for Jason Roy and last month’s big name signing of Jon Lewis from Gloucestershire.
Unfortunately the process has also meant that all-rounder Chris Schofield has been released after six seasons on the staff. The leg-spinner enjoyed a productive time in limited overs cricket last season but was overlooked in four-day cricket in favour of the emerging Zafar Ansari. There have also been rumours in the local Surrey press of a move to The Oval for Indian spinner Murali Kartik, who has just announced that he has played his last game for Somerset.
Surrey chief executive Richard Gould explained the reason for Schofield’s departure, saying, “It’s a time when we have to make some difficult decisions and we have to keep within a wage ceiling.”
A statement on the club’s website added, “Schofield was a popular member of the dressing room and will be remembered for his impressive exploits in the field, in addition to his talent with both bat and ball.”
It could mark the end of an unorthodox career for one of county cricket’s most mercurial talents. The 33 year-old began his career at Lancashire in 1998 and, in 2000, was rewarded with one of the ECB’s first Central Contracts, due to the fact that he was a leg-spinner at a time when England were being terrorised by Shane Warne, and the search was on for a homegrown alternative.
Predictably things didn’t work out for the young Schofield – he was only 21 at the time – and his career, like so many others who were prematurely promoted around that time, could have ended there, especially as he was soon released by Lancashire.
However, he fought his way back traveling the country playing Minor Counties and club cricket and earnt himself a place in the Surrey side in 2006 where he shone, especially in Twenty20 cricket.
His excellence in the shortest form of the game was once again enough for England to come calling and he played four matches for them in the inaugural World Twenty20 before being discarded again.
Since then he has become an integral part of Chris Adams’ new-look Surrey side, particularly in limited-overs cricket, where his prowess in the field was fully utilised during this year’s Clydesdale Bank 40 triumph, but ultimately his age appears to have counted against him and English cricket must, in all likelihood, bid farewell to a member of one of its most misunderstood species: the humble leggie.
Other County Cricket News in Brief:
Glamorgan have been granted permission to talk to Simon Jones with a view to signing him on a one-day contract for next season.
Jordan Clark has signed his first professional contract with Lancashire.
Northamptonshire have confirmed that slow left-armer Tom Brett and fast bowler Gavin Baker have been released by the club.
Yorkshire CCC have announced that all of their coaching staff, with the exception of Martyn Moxon, will have to reapply for their positions as they undertake an overhaul of their coaching structure.
The ECB will decide on November 7th whether to incorporate the new rules regarding runners and ball changes into the Clydesdale Bank 40 for next season. Club cricket will remain unaffected by the change in playing conditions.
Meanwhile, the MCC are known to be unhappy that the issue of substitutes was not tackled in the rule changes that came into force on October 1st.
Nottinghamshire CCC have collected three awards at the ECB's Business of Cricket awards.
Article will be updated throughout the day.
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