Walsh leaves under a cloud (18 December 1998)

18 December 1998

Walsh leaves under a cloud

By Peter Deeley

COURTNEY WALSH and Gloucestershire have severed a 14-year partnership in acrimonious manner with the bowler saying he was "stabbed in the back" and the county accusing him of going back on a new two-year deal.

Walsh, now 36, is presently in South Africa with West Indies and said there: "After such loyal service I am bitterly disappointed by the unprofessional approach shown by Gloucestershire."

But Colin Sexstone, the county club's chief executive, said that Walsh had failed to give a written guarantee of availability for the club if he was not picked to play for West Indies in next year's World Cup, which runs in tandem with the County Championship in May and June.

Sexstone said the county had made Walsh a "huge offer - 20 per cent of the playing staff budget" when a new contract was being negotiated at the end of last summer.

At that time, Walsh made it "absolutely clear" that he would be retiring from international one-day cricket and that the World Cup would not be an issue. But since then Walsh had demanded an unconditional contract and had approached at least one other county seeking a similar unfettered deal.

Mike Fatkin, Glamorgan's secretary, said Walsh had contacted them some months ago. "We would have been interested then but with Tony Cottey going to Sussex things have changed and we are now looking for a batting all-rounder. Things are well advanced on that front."

Walsh, the third highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, has taken over 860 for Gloucestershire and finished with 106 last summer.

Sexstone said Gloucestershire were very upset that "such a great servant should be leaving us in this way. We had hoped to make a joint announcement but his agent pre-empted matters by putting out a statement first which was misleading and factually inaccurate.

"Courtney has only himself to blame for not securing his contract. I think he will find it difficult to negotiate as good a deal as we offered."

Source :: Electronic Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)