County news September 29, 2006

Blakey released by Yorkshire

Cricinfo staff

Yorkshire have announced that they are releasing Richard Blakey, the former England wicketkeeper, as their end-of-season clear-out continues.

Blakey, 39, who played two Tests and three one-day internationals in 1992-93, is joined at the exit door by the Australian quick bowler Mitchell Claydon.

Blakey made his debut for Yorkshire in 1985, but has not played first-team cricket since 2003, finding his path blocked by Simon Guy and Gerard Brophy. He became second XI captain and manager in 2004, has coached the first-team and is now considering his options after discussions with Yorkshire officials.

Blakey was ahead of his time, pioneering the current trend of batsman-wicketkeepers when he was converted from being purely a batsman by a Yorkshire staff desperate to find a successor to David Bairstow.

The change never quite worked, and when Blakey's strength as a batsman won him selection, to public outcry, ahead of Jack Russell for the India tour of 1992-93 he mustered just seven runs from four innings, mesmerised by Anil Kumble.

With his England career as good as over, he returned to county cricket and was a loyal servant to Yorkshire, playing 348 first-class games, scoring 14,674 runs, claiming 778 catches and 57 stumpings. His highest score of 223 not out came in 2003.

Claydon, 23, played two first-class games in two years at the county and despite possessing decent pace missed the second half of 2006 with a stress fracture of the back.

The news comes on the back of the county's release of Richard Dawson, the former England offspinner.