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Former Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown has decided to re-join his former club Sussex as he attempts a fresh start following the death of his close friend and Surrey team-mate Tom Maynard during the 2012 season.
Surrey had begun the 2012 season well under Hamilton-Brown's leadership, but the death of Maynard part way through the season affected the club, and especially Hamilton-Brown, tremendously. The 25 year-old was given indefinite compassionate leave by Surrey before attempting to return to action, only to find the memories still too raw for him to be able to prosper.
He announced that he had requested a release from his Surrey contract shortly after the end of the season as he looked for a different environment - away from the hustle and bustle of south London - to rebuild his career and come to terms with his grief. That he has chosen to return to Sussex should come as no surprise as, during his time there, the club and player made a positive impression on one another.
Hamilton-Brown said of his return to Sussex on a three-year contract and of his time at Surrey: "I would like to thank Surrey for the opportunity they gave me to captain such an illustrious club at such a young age. At times it was very tough but I am immensely proud of what I achieved there, both as a captain and a player and specifically leading a special bunch of players to promotion and CB40 success.
"Losing my best friend Tom in June was indescribably painful. We were extremely close but ultimately I know I will emerge from this awful tragedy with renewed strength and purpose. I am delighted to be returning to Sussex, a club where I was previously very happy. I would like to thank Mark Robinson, his coaching staff, the players, management and Board at Sussex for welcoming me back so warmly. There is nothing like feeling wanted to raise spirits and I fully intend to repay the confidence they have shown in me."
Sussex's Professional Cricket Manager Mark Robinson said, "Everyone at the club is delighted by Rory's return. He has had a difficult few months and we believe we can play our part to assist and enable him to look to the future with renewed enthusiasm. He is a very talented cricketer who is yet to reach his full potential, which makes him such an exciting and dangerous player."
Born a stone's throw from Lord's, Hamilton-Brown came through the Surrey age-group system and made his first-team debut for the club in 2005. He went on to play for England Under-19s the following year, before leaving for Sussex in 2008, where he prospered, especially in the shorter forms of the game. He was lured back to Surrey for the 2010 season by Chris Adams with the offer of captaincy, and, after a difficult start, was beginning to make progress - he led Surrey to the 2011 Clydesdale Bank 40 title -before the tragic death of Maynard last season.
Yorkshire have been linked to Durham seamer Liam Plunkett, who still has a year left on his contract with the north-east club, but was given permission to talk to other counties after a poor 2012 season.
The 27 year-old former England fast-bowler fell out of favour with the club's management and played just one Championship game, against Somerset in May, in 2012.
Hampshire have called up seam-bowler David Balcombe in place of left-arm spinner Danny Briggs in their squad for the Champions League T20. Briggs is unavailable as he is getting married at the beginning of October, when he tournament starts, after previously postponing the wedding because it clashed with his England commitments.
Derbyshire have rewarded seam-bowling all-rounder Ross Whiteley with a three-year contract extension. The 24 year-old, who is a graduate of the club's Academy, took 20 wickets and scored 498 first-class runs in Derbyshire's successful LV= County Championship promotion campaign and was rewarded for his efforts with a place in England's squad for this winter's Hong Kong Sixes tournament.
Head Coach Karl Krikken said, “It’s great to be able to secure the services of Ross for the next few seasons and we’re working behind the scenes towards more new contracts in the near future. Ross is a rapidly developing home grown cricketer who has come of age during the past two seasons and has the potential to achieve great things during his future career with the club. He is a great advert for our Academy system.”
Whiteley himself said, "With a championship winner’s medal and an international call-up, followed quickly by a new contract that illustrates the club’s faith in me, it’s fair to say I’m a very happy cricketer. To achieve something so special alongside such a great group of guys in 2012 was a real career highlight and I can’t wait to come back and get stuck into First Division cricket next summer.”
© Cricket World 2012
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