Australian domestic cricket September 20, 2006

Thornely returns to captain New South Wales

Cricinfo staff

Back in blue: Dominic Thornely is flying back from Hampshire to lead his state © Getty Images

New South Wales have recalled Dominic Thornely from England to lead them in two important pre-season friendlies. Thornely will miss Hampshire's last two matches, a Championship tie and the Pro40 play-off against Glamorgan this Sunday, to join his state squad.

While Hampshire still have an outside chance of stealing second place in the Championship, they will now have to play their final match, against fellow contenders Lancashire, without Thornely's services. And he will be sorely missed after belting 759 Championship runs in 25 innings and averaging 61 in the Pro40 league.

"This has been a difficult decision," Thornely said, "but I've got a great opportunity to lead my side at home and I hope everyone understands that."

Hampshire's manager Paul Terry was disappointed to lose Thornely earlier than planned. "We understand the importance of this opportunity to captain his state side," he said, "and we would certainly not want to stand in his way."