Walsh anger over English county snub (November 17 1998)

December 17 1998

Walsh anger over English county snub


LONDON, Dec 17 (AFP) - Courtney Walsh's 14-year association with Gloucestershire ended in recrimination on Thursday when the English county withdrew their offer of a new two-year contract.

The West Indies pace star, one of the most successful overseas players in county cricket, reacted angrily to the announcement.

Walsh, who overtook Malcolm Marshall to become the West Indies leading wickettaker in test cricket on the current tour of South Africa, said: "I am absolutely amazed by Gloucestershire's about-turn, particularly after helping them get so close to winning the championship last season."

Gloucestershire said they want their overseas star to be available throughout next season and Walsh's probable involvement in the World Cup is one reason why the offer has been withdrawn.

The county have also decided they would now prefer an all-rounder, probably an Australian, as their overseas player.

This change of tack follows the selection of Gloucestershire captain Mark Alleyne for England's one day squad to play in Australia next month, which means he could well be involved in the World Cup next summer.

But Walsh, who was the leading wicket taker in first class cricket last season with 106 victims and took over 860 during his 14 years with the county, believes the club has ulterior motives.

The 36-year-old Jamaican said: "I have been told the main reason for withdrawing the offer is due to the introduction of the two divisional championship in the year 2000 being based on positions next season, and that the balance of the side will be upset if Mark Alleyne is selected for England's World Cup squad.

"But, to me, it is bowlers who win matches and I believe these are not the real reasons for the withdrawal of the offer.

"I am possibly bowling as well as I ever have and I know I have at least two good seasons of first-class cricket left. Regretfully, these will not be with Gloucestershire."