County news September 2, 2008

Clarke leaves Derbyshire for Warwickshire

Cricinfo staff

A rare moment of joy for Rikki Clarke in Derbyshire colours © Getty Images

Rikki Clarke has left Derbyshire after a turbulent and unsuccessful 12 months at the club, and has immediately signed a new three-year contract with Warwickshire.

Clarke began his career with Surrey, but struggled to cement his place in 2007 and promptly joined Derbyshire for the start of this season. Immediately installed as captain, expectations for Clarke and Derbyshire were high. However, following a dismal run of form - he even dropped himself at one point - he resigned as captain last month.

Clarke has averaged 21 with the bat in the Championship and 38 with the ball from eight matches with just a single half-century. When he arrived over the winter, in a high-profile move with the promise of the captaincy, he spoke of being excited by the challenge of building a young group of players and even pushing for an England recall. His misery at Derbyshire this season has put paid to continuing his England career, for the time being at least.

Warwickshire have long since courted Clarke, and their director of cricket, Ashley Giles, told The Times the reasons why. "I played with Rikki for England in Bangladesh and have always regarded him as a talented and exciting cricketer. That talent is unfulfilled at present but I am sure there is more to come from him.

"He has bags of raw ability and it's up to me and the rest of the coaching team to mould that ability into the top-class cricketer that he is capable of being."

Clarke told the Birmingham Post that he was delighted to be moving to Edgbaston. "Warwickshire was always my first choice, even last season, but by the time I spoke to them I had already given my word to Derbyshire that I would join them," he said. "It's a big club with great facilities and I have people like Ashley and Allan Donald around to learn from.

"Derbyshire threw the captaincy at me and, looking back now, going there was a mistake," he said. "But I just want to come Warwickshire, play some cricket, put the last year behind me and give it a red-hot go."