Middlesex will not be fielding Indian star batsman Sachin Tendulkar alongside Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist in 2010 after it was revealed that they had not been able to come to a deal with the player.
Gilchrist has already signed to appear in the revamped Friends Provident Twenty20 competition and the 2008 champions had hoped to sign Tendulkar but confirmed that despite initial optimism, he will not be playing for the Panthers.
“We are all naturally extremely disappointed that Sachin has reached the decision not to join us this year, as without doubt, his presence within the Middlesex ranks alongside Adam Gilchrist would have been a major coup for the Club," chief executive Vinny Codrington said.
"When the news initially broke that we were is negotiations with Sachin, it quite rightly created major headlines in all the sports pages, and it’s a real shame we have been unable to reach a satisfactory outcome to our discussions with him.
"Sachin was very open and honest with us when advising us of his decision and went to lengths to express how much consideration he had given to the opportunity and how flattered he was that a club like Middlesex were so keen to have him on board. Whilst extremely keen to join the Club, Sachin felt he wished to concentrate his efforts on prolonging his international career at the top of world cricket, and believed that the additional workload of playing Twenty20 cricket in the UK for Middlesex this year would place too much pressure on his already busy cricketing schedule.
"We would like to express our thanks to John Stephenson, MCC's Head of Cricket, for all his help, and we wish Sachin continued success with India and our thanks go to him for giving the Club every consideration."
Middlesex have also signed New Zealand fast bowler Iain O'Brien as their overseas player for the whole season; teams are allowed four overseas players in their Twenty20 squad but only two can play at any one time.
Counties have been vying with each other to sign world stars for the competition, with Kieron Pollard and Cameron White heading to Somerset and Shahid Afridi and Ajantha Mendis signing for Hampshire along with Gilchrist's arrival at Middlesex and Shaun Tait's at Glamorgan.
© Cricket World 2010