Welcome to the county cricket round-up for the week beginning 25th November. This article will be updated with the latest stories as they unfold during the rest of the week.
Redfern Parts Company With Derbyshire
Derbyshire and batsman Dan Redfern have parted company by mutual consent despite the left-hander still having two years to run on his current contract.
Redfern endured a torrid 2013 season with the bat, averaging a pitiful 14.15 in Championship cricket, and was often included in the Friends Life t20 side mainly for his part-time off-spin bowling. He then had his season ended prematurely by a hip injury.
It all marked a rapid fall from grace for the 23 year-old Academy graduate, who made his first-team debut as a fresh-faced 16 year-old back in 2006. He has always been seen as highly talented and appeared to be transferring that promise into results in 2012 with his best season to date as the club were promoted to Division One of the LV= County Championship. He ended the season by signing a new three-year contract.
Unfortunately, not only did his batting fail with the step up to Division One, but the statement released by the club hinted at off-field problems.
Head Coach Karl Krikken said: "Dan’s been with the club since joining the Academy in 2004 and we thank him for his efforts during that period. However, in recent times, he’s had a number of issues - both on and off the field - which made last season in particular a challenging time for both him and the club. While it’s always difficult to see players leave, both Dan and the club feel a new challenge is the best route forward.”
Redfern added, "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Derbyshire and I thank Krikk and the team for their support. The decision to move on is tough but a fresh start will open new opportunities for me in the next stage of my career.”
Redfern is now likely to move to a Division Two club, with the likes of Leicestershire, Worcestershire or Kent possible destinations. He is the second star of Derbyshire’s 2012 promotion-winning side to have left the club early, with all-rounder Ross Whiteley having departed for Worcestershire mid-season.
Warwickshire Fans Express Outrage At Name Change
Fans of Warwickshire CCC have reacted with almost universal outrage across online message forums and on social media to the news that the side will now be known as the Birmingham Bears in the re-launched Natwest t20 Blast competition.
One, Louis McMahon, wrote on Facebook: “Warwickshire County Cricket Club renaming themselves ‘Birmingham Bears’ for 2020 is absolute PR suicide, talk about alienating a massive percentage of supporters, shocking decision!”
Another, Jack Rhodes-Jones, hinted at the possible reason behind the decision: “It’s county cricket. I’m a proud Brummie but to change the name for the sake of sponsorship (from a council that can’t afford it) is poor.”
Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The Birmingham Bears t20 team is an incredibly exciting proposition that can unite sports fans across the city on Friday evenings next summer.
“The club and the redeveloped stadium provide so many great opportunities for the local communities to play and watch world-class cricket here in Birmingham, and I’m looking forward to seeing people get behind the Bears and hopefully roar them on to a Finals Day at Edgbaston in August.”
The county’s chief executive, Colin Povey, attempted to defend the decision, saying, “Birmingham and Edgbaston has been the club’s home since 1886 and we believe that adopting the Birmingham Bears name for the NatWest t20 Blast presents a great opportunity for us to engage even more closely with fans living and working at the heart of the city. Asian families, business men and women working in the city’s commercial districts and local cricket clubs are three particular audiences the club is seeking to work with more next season.”
Whether the targeting of those new fans will alienate old ones remains to be seen. John Sheerman wrote: “Well as me and my mates are from Coventry we will not be attending any T20 games next season.” Many others expressed similar sentiments.
The idea of city-based teams in county T20 cricket is nothing new, with the introduction of a city-based franchise system in line with Australia’s Big Bash League and the Indian Premier League mooted some years ago. However, the history of the game as a county one was partly responsible for seeing that idea shelved.
Glamorgan also experimented with a name change recently, calling themselves the Welsh Dragons in limited-overs cricket in 2012 before abandoning the idea last season. Whether the Birmingham Bears will be a long-running concern remains to be seen.
County Cricket News In Brief:
Northamptonshire club captain Stephen Peters has extended his contract with the county until the end of the 2015 season. The 34 year-old scored 735 runs as they gained promotion in the LV= County Championship last season despite missing six matches due to injury.
Former Nottinghamshire captain, chairman of cricket and president, as well as England’s oldest surviving Test player, Reg Simpson, has died at the age of 93. Simpson scored over 30,000 first-class runs and represented his country 27 times. He was also a pilot during the Second World War and later the managing director of Gunn and Moore. More
The Tom Maynard Academy has announced its first batch of cricketers who will spend 10 days at a training camp in Spain in February. Among those included are Gloucestershire wicket-keeper Cameron Herring and fast-bowlers George Edwards and Andy Carter from Surrey and Nottinghamshire.
Hampshire CCC have joined Middlesex CCC in unveiling a slightly revised club crest to mark their 150th anniversary. The existing rose and crown logo has been enhanced with an “elegant modern shield” and the words “Est. 1863”. The club have also confirmed that they will be ditching their Royals nickname for next season.
Somerset CCC have recorded a pre-tax trading surplus of £468,703 for 2013. That is an increase on the 2012 figure with total income increasing by 5%.
Surrey young guns Tom Curran and Dominic Sibley have signed contracts which will see them remain with the club until the end of the 2016 season. Both will move from summer contracts onto full-time deals after completing their A-Levels this summer. Sibley made history in 2013 by becoming the youngest double-centurion in the County Championship, while South Africa-born Curran took five for 34 in a Yorkshire Bank 40 match against Scotland in August.
© Cricket World 2013