County news January 21, 2010

Worcestershire release Kabir Ali

Cricinfo staff

Worcestershire have released Kabir Ali from the final season of his contract with the club after an ongoing dispute.

Worcestershire endured a difficult season in 2009, finishing last in Division One of the Championship, and failing to win a single game in the competition. Since then plenty of players have left the club with Steven Moore, the opening batsman, leaving for Lancashire and spinner Gareth Batty and wicketkeeper Steven Davies, who was in South Africa with England, going to Surrey.

Kabir had also asked to leave the club and move to Hampshire on a three-year deal but, with his contract at New Road not yet fulfilled, Worcestershire asked for a £60,000 compensation to be paid by the club that signed him.

As no county was prepared to do so Kabir was due to remain at Worcestershire for the 2010 season and in October Mark Newton, Worcestershire's chief executive, said "Kabir has already told us that if he remained with the club he would give 100% next season and we know that he will."

Yet as the season drew closer, the dispute had clearly not been resolved as Kabir failed to turn up to the pre-season training. With no sign of resolution, Worcestershire have decided to release him and Newton is disappointed to see him go.

"Kabir has been with the club for 10 years and we are very sorry to see him go," said Newton. "During that time he has emerged as one of the best seam bowlers in county cricket and has played for England. He has taken 429 first-class wickets for us at 26.85 and has one of the best strike rates in domestic cricket.

"This has been a difficult decision for both the club and Kabir. However we have taken what we believe to be a pragmatic decision and we wish him well in his future career as he seeks to regain his England place. He will always be welcome at New Road.

"The club is happy with the final outcome. Under Steve Rhodes, the director of cricket, the squad can now prepare for the new season knowing what the situation will be."

Kabir could not confirm whether his move to Hampshire has been finalised, however. "Both of the clubs have spoken," he told Cricinfo. "Obviously everything is out in the open but at the moment it's a bit uncomfortable, a little bit awkward for me to say anything. I haven't signed a new contract or anything yet so I'm not going to say anything until the clubs have got their issues sorted out. I'm not going to confirm anything yet."