County news September 7, 2008

Nicholson leaves Surrey

Cricinfo staff

Matthew Nicholson, the former New South Wales fast bowler, has left Surrey by mutual consent with three weeks of the season remaining. Shoaib Akhtar is due to join Surrey on Monday and be available for their final two County Championship games.

Nicholson was Surrey's overseas player for 2007 and 2008. He played a part with both bat and ball during his stint, taking 93 wickets in all competitions, as well as scoring 925 runs.

"Unfortunately, Matt's season this year has been blighted by illness which has affected his performance," Alan Butcher, Surrey's cricket manager, told the club's website. "However, he has never given anything less than 100% and leaves behind many friends in the Surrey dressing room who will miss his positive attitude."

Nicholson was voted Man of the Year at the end of the 2007 season, an award decided by the first team, after moving from Northamptonshire. Nicholson, 33, retired from New South Wales shortly before the state's Pura Cup triumph earlier in the year, and has been named as a state selector for the 2008-09 season. Nicholson represented Australia in one Test against England in 1998-99, when he was playing with Western Australia.

Surrey are battling to avoid relegation and are stuck at the bottom of the table after a draw with Kent.