County news February 11, 2010

Northants lose van der Wath and Wessels

Cricinfo staff

Northamptonshire have failed in their bid to retain Johan van der Wath and Riki Wessels for the 2010 season following a change in immigration criteria. The club had lodged an appeal, but always knew they were unlikely to succeed and will now look at ways to strengthen their squad ahead of the new season.

The ECB has aimed to clamp down on the number of Kolpak players in county cricket and set out new limits including how recently a player has appeared in international cricket. Wessels, the son the former South Africa captain Kepler Wessels, has never played internationally while van der Wath's last appearance came in 2007.

"We are obviously very disappointed that Johan, who has been with us since 2006, and Riki who has been here even longer, since 2004, will be unable to see out their contracts," Mark Tagg, the Northamptonshire chief executive said. "However, we have been aware this scenario could happen and head coach David Capel has been looking at alternatives for some time. The credentials of those candidates that remain available for 2010 season will be looked at closely before any decisions are finalised."

Capel is on the hunt of a fast bowler to replace van der Wath but knows it won't be easy with the packed international calendar. "It is necessary to look at all available options open to us," he said, "and if we can secure top class fast bowling expertise that we require to spearhead our attack, it is likely we will be entertaining those options.

"International and other playing commitments could complicate matters further and result in players spending shorter periods of time with us during the 2010 season."

Northamptonshire's bowling resources will be stretched this coming season after they also parted company with Monty Panesar as the England spinner moved to Sussex. They have signed James Middlebrook from Essex as a replacement and have also enticed Mal Loye back to his first county after his time at Lancashire.