Leicestershire have sought to put their dismal 2013 season behind them by signing Charlie Shreck to lead their inexperienced bowling attack. They have also agreed terms with Ramnaresh Sarwan as their overseas player and welcome youngsters Rob Sayer and Ben Raine on board.
Shreck was surprisingly released by Kent at the end of last summer and has signed a one-year deal which will see him mentor the club’s young attack following the retirement of former captain Matthew Hoggard.
Shreck said, “I am really looking forward to a new challenge at Leicestershire. The opportunity to play a major role in the bowling attack and lend my experience to an exciting young squad is something that appeals to me and I can’t wait to play a part in helping the club move forward.”
The Foxes will hope to see more of West Indian Sarwan in the LV= County Championship in 2014 than they did in their winless 2013. The Guyana top-order batsman was recalled mid-season to the West Indies side, meaning that the Leicestershire batting line-up was overly-dependent on the impressive Ned Eckersley and struggled for runs.
Raine made his club debut towards the end of the season and has done enough to earn himself a one-year deal. Off-spinner Sayer, meanwhile, is rated highly by many at the club and is part of the England Under-19 side that will travel to the UAE next month to take part in the ICC Under-19 World Cup. He will bolster a spin attack that has seen the retirement of veteran Claude Henderson.
Director of Cricket Phil Whitticase said of the signings: “It is great to have Charlie on board, he has been a consistent performer over the years and has lots to offer us. He is just the bowler we have been looking for in terms of quality and experience. We are also delighted to have Ronnie back, they are the two experienced players we have been looking for. It’s also good to have Ben and Rob with us, it’s all positive news for the club.”
A press release on the club website added that Leicestershire are “still actively looking to add further to the 2014 squad.”
Essex have followed yesterday’s news that they are losing assistant coach Matt Walker to rivals Kent for 2014 by appointing Ryan ten Doeschate as their captain for limited-overs cricket.
Club captain James Foster will continue to lead the LV= County Championship side, but the 33 year-old sometime Dutch all-rounder will lead the Eagles in the Royal London One-Day Cup and the Natwest T20 Blast.
Essex Head Coach Paul Grayson said of the appointment: “Ryan has got huge experience of playing one-day cricket around the world, particularly Twenty20. We feel it is a good opportunity to bring him into a leadership role and I certainly think that this is a positive move forward with a lot of counties now opting to split the captaincy. This gives James the opportunity to really concentrate on his play in one-day cricket as it is a tough job to keep wicket, bat and captain the side. I know James supports Ryan in his new role and will continue to do so throughout the season.
“I’ve spoken to Ryan and he is really excited at the prospect of captaining the team. He’s got some new fresh ideas and I think that’s good for the dressing room and I look forward to working with him.”
Middlesex have secured the services of highly promising 19 year-old fast-bowler Tom Helm on a three-year contract. Helm is part of the England Potential Performance Programme and returned match figures of five for 78 on first-class debut against Yorkshire in 2013.
Middlesex CCC's Managing Director of Cricket, Angus Fraser, said of Helm’s signing, "Middlesex CCC are lucky to currently have a number of extremely promising young cricketers at the club and Tom is most certainly one of them. He possesses all the attributes you want to see in a young fast-bowler, in that he is tall and has a whippy action that allows him to generate good pace and bounce. He naturally moves the ball away from right-handed batsmen too.
"We are delighted with the progress he has made with Richard Johnson, Middlesex CCC's fast-bowling coach, since joining our professional staff from our Academy, and that he will continue his development with us. Injury permitting I see him putting pressure on our main fast-bowlers and pushing for a place in the first eleven before too long."
© Cricket World 2014