County news January 21, 2004

Kumble and Noffke unavailable for Middlesex

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Middlesex suffered a double blow with the news that both their overseas targets for next season, Anil Kumble and Ashley Noffke, have told the county they won't be available to play.

Kumble, who played a leading role in India's recently drawn Test series against Australia, did not receive clearance from the Indian board to play. To make matters worse, Noffke, the Australian pace-bowler, decided that his ongoing back injuries would stop him from being able to get through a full season.

"We had sorted things out with Anil before Christmas, but didn't announce his signing because we were awaiting clearance from the Board of Control for Cricket in India," Vinny Codrington, Middlesex's chief executive said. "It was disappointing that it became public knowledge before any permission was given. It is doubly disappointing because Anil would have been a major contributor to the squad, but we perfectly understand the BCCI's and Anil's decision."