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The TWC grapevine – Mendis topping county lists

October 2nd, 2008 by Paul Wood in County cricket and tagged , , , , , , ,

There continues to be plenty of speculation surrounding Sri Lanka’s new mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis. It is hardly a great surprise due to the major impact he has had in international cricket, and any county with a realistic eye on next season’s £500,000 County Championship prize money will be vying for the 23-year-old’s signature.

Having tormented India in a three Test series, where he picked up 26 wickets, Mendis appears to be topping the list of a number of counties hoping to lure him to English domestic cricket. Lancashire, with their Murali connections, appears to be the most likely destination but Sussex will be keen to fill the massive void left by Mushtaq Ahmed’s retirement. But he’s not going to be around all summer …

Leicestershire’s Garnett Kruger will not be back in county cricket next summer. The quick bowler has said his body is struggling to maintain the necessary fitness to compete in cricket for 12 months. Niggles throughout the season have hindered Kruger but he took 32 Championship wickets at 30.31. So with a South African import becoming a Leicestershire export, the county needs further strengthening.

Derbyshire’s Graeme Wagg has had two reasons to celebrate this week. Firstly, the 25-year old he signed a new contract that ties him to the club till the end of the 2010 season, then he gained selection for the England squad to compete in the Hong Kong Sixes. Despite Warwickshire’s efforts to take him to Edgbaston, Wagg chose the County Ground, where, for the second season running, he has taken 50 wickets and scored 500 runs – the only county player to achieve this in both 2007 and 2008.

Also in the news:

– Veteran Zimbabwean Grant Flower has signed a new one-year deal at Essex. His vital 70 not out in the FP Trophy final doing his case no harm at the negotiating table.

– Glamorgan have opted not to renew captain David Hemp’s contract, as his performances were not up to the standard expected for such an experienced batsman.

– Notts are continuing to search for an alternative overseas batsman for 2009 should David Hussey’s Australia/IPL commitments restrict his involvement. He is contracted to the county for next season.

– Gloucestershire have signed up Irish opener Will Porterfield on a new two-year contract.

– Worcestershire allrounder Darryl Mitchell and quick bowler Gareth Andrew are to stay at New Road for a further three and two years respectively. Josh Knappett and Chris Whelan will stay another season, while an offer has been made to Meraj Ahmed for the 2009 season.

– Western Australian quick Steve Magoffin is also keen to return to Worcester but official talks are yet to take place.

– Somerset wicket-keeper Carl Gazzard has signed on at Taunton for another season.

– Middlesex are set to loan Warwickshire allrounder Neil Carter as cover for Dirk Nannes, who is back in Australia, while they compete in the Stanford Super Series and potentially the Champions League in India.

– Yorkshire seamer Steve Patterson has signed a new two-year contract after an impressive 2008.

Mark Alleyne appears to be interested in the coaching role vacated by Paul Terry at Hampshire.

Paul Wood is a freelance journalist

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