County news December 24, 2009

Hamilton-Brown joins Surrey

Cricinfo staff

After a protracted period of speculation and discussion, Rory Hamilton-Brown will join Surrey next season, where he will become captain, after signing a three-year contract with the London club.

Hamilton-Brown, 22, will become the youngest captain on the country circuit, returning to the club he left only two seasons ago. Shawn of opportunities at the Oval, Hamilton-Brown moved to Sussex in 2008 and made eight first-class appearances and was an important member in the club's recent one-day success.

Leaving Sussex was a difficult decision for Hamilton-Brown but he returns to Surrey to fulfil a life-long ambition. "It has taken a considerable amount of soul-searching to reach this decision and I'd like to place on record my sincere thanks to Sussex for the fantastic support they have given me and their understanding of my final decision," said Hamilton-Brown.

"I leave the club with great memories and the club, the players and the coaches have played a major part in my development as a player. It's no exaggeration to say that returning to Surrey as captain is the dream of a lifetime for me personally as well as a massive honour and a huge responsibility. I will make sure I fulfil the confidence that Surrey and specifically Chris Adams have shown in me and I am determined to help bring the club success in the future."

Chris Adams, who is now the director of cricket at Surrey, captained Hamilton-Brown at Sussex in 2008 and has said he wanted a captain to unite the players following former-skipper Mark Butcher's retirement last season. He believes Hamilton-Brown, despite his inexperience, is the man for the job.

"To me, captains have to have certain attributes such as charisma, a galvanising spirit, intelligent and tactical brains and the ability to inspire people to follow them - Rory Hamilton-Brown has these in abundance," said Adams.

"I'm sure that the addition of Rory to our squad will give us stability, unity and strong leadership for many years to come and enable us - for the first time in two years - to provide consistent leadership on the field of the play. I am confident that the return of Rory Hamilton-Brown to Surrey at the start of a new decade will come to be seen as a defining moment in the turnaround of this club."

Hamilton-Brown has been with England Performance Programme in South Africa recently, on the back of the promise he displayed last season, and Sussex were reluctant to lose such a bright prospect. However coach Mark Robinson said that once the player decided he wanted to leave, it would have been detrimental to the team to force him to stay.

"Our aim since we signed Rory was to work on his undoubted potential to create an England cricketer and we believe that we have made good progress along that path. Our view remains that he would have been best served remaining with Sussex as a key part of our first-team squad, in all forms of the game for 2010, to achieve that ambition," said Robinson.

"However, Rory is adamant he would like to take this opportunity to captain Surrey and given the importance of our strong united team spirit in the dressing room, myself and the captain believe it is best for Sussex to allow him to move. Rory has been a pleasure to work with during his two seasons at Sussex and the whole coaching staff wish him all the best in his new role."

Jim May, the Sussex chairman, echoed the feelings of disappointment but confirmed that Sussex have been compensated for the lost. "We are disappointed that Rory has made this choice. It was only the exceptional circumstances - Rory's opportunity to become captain - that led us to reluctantly grant consent to his departure. We are able to confirm a significant compensation payment has been made by Surrey to secure Rory's release."