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County biding their time
WORCESTERSHIRE are prepared to bide their time over building a squad to challenge for promotion back to the top-flight of the LV= County Championship.
Following this season’s relegation from Division One, the New Road side will be looking to bounce back at the first opportunity, but will have to do so without the likes of Vikram Solanki (moved to Surrey), Ben Scott (released) and James Cameron (retired).
County officials have not been tempted to move for any players currently on the out-of-contract list, but expect more to become available as they look to sort out their future plans.
Many players who are under contract for next season will be discussing where they stand with their current club and may opt to secure a mutual release in the coming weeks.
County chief executive David Leatherdale explained: “Counties are now having discussions with their players who have contracts for next year, but who may want to move on.
“By the end of October, several of these players may decide they want to change and come to an agreement with their current club, so we will wait for six weeks or so to see who else becomes available.
“There is potentially some money available to sign players, but we won’t bring people in just for the sake of it. We have some younger players who are coming through and we want them to have the chance to prove themselves.”
He added: “We have already spoken to two or three players on the out of contract list, but they have used those discussions to get a better deal out of their current clubs and have decided not to move.
“If we had a bottomless pit of money, we would probably want to bring in three or four more experienced players to support our current squad. We will look at doing that over the winter, but it all depends on the right players being available.”
Meanwhile, Leatherdale revealed spinner Shaaiq Choudhry is the only member of the current squad not under contract for next year after youngsters Brett D’Oliveira, Neil Pinner, Matt Pardoe and Chris Russell all signed new deals.
He said: “The only player not to yet sign is Shaaiq. As he is a bit older and was arguably our second choice spinner behind Moeen Ali, with Brett also coming up on the rails, he is taking his time to make a decision, but we have made him an offer.
“With Vikram having left for Surrey, James retiring and Ben and Jack Manuel being released, everyone else in the squad, apart from Shaaiq, is now under contract for next season.”