Varun Chopra to leave Warwickshire at season's end
Warwickshire have confirmed that opening batsman and former captain Varun Chopra will leave Edgbaston at the end of the 2016 season when his current contract expires.
Chopra joined the Bears from Essex ahead of the 2010 season, scoring 6,092 first-class runs with 15 centuries, 2,116 one-day runs and 1,688 Twenty20 runs in Warwickshire colours.
The 29-year-old played a key role in helping Birmingham Bears lift the T20 Blast title in 2014, the same year in which he stood in as captain on a number of occasions for Jim Troughton.
He was handed the captaincy on a full-time basis in 2015 before stepping down as skipper earlier this year.
"Discussions have taken place with Varun since he took the decision to step down as captain earlier this year and, whilst everyone at the club is fully aware of his capabilities as a top order batsman, there is also a need to look at the development of the squad in order to be able to maintain a challenge on all fronts in the coming years," a statement from Warwickshire read.
"Both parties believe that now is a good time for Varun to accept a fresh challenge and he is now able to talk to other counties in order to realise his own career ambitions.
"In the meantime, he remains fully committed to the club and will continue to perform at his best through to the end of the current season."
Chopra, who was capped by Warwickshire in 2012, has this season scored 570 runs in nine County Championship matches with one century and five half-centuries and scored 97 not out in 58 balls against Durham in the only T20 Blast game he was selected for.
The statement added: "Everyone at Edgbaston would like to thank Varun for his contribution to Warwickshire CCC and Birmingham Bears over the last seven seasons.
"He will be fondly remembered by all for the role that he has played, especially in the club's first NatWest T20 Blast triumph in 2014, and wish him the very best for the future."
Essex and Hampshire reportedly made approaches to Warwickshire to speak to Chopra before his release was confirmed by the club and both can now be expected to step up their interest in signing him for the 2017 season.
© Cricket World 2016