County news September 26, 2012

Niall O'Brien in Leicestershire talks

Ireland and Northamptonshire wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien is in talks with Leicestershire. While O'Brien is contracted to his current club until the end of 2013, the county have made it clear that his contract will not be renewed and have allowed him to talk to other teams.

O'Brien, 30, has a fine record in all formats of the game - he averaged 38.66 in first-class cricket for the club this year - but his availability is compromised by his Ireland commitments and Northamptonshire are hoping to free up resources to bring in new players. Steven Crook, the Middlesex allrounder, is believed to be a primary target with negotiations at an advanced stage.

Northamptonshire also have high hopes for their 17-year-old wicketkeeper, Ben Duckett, who played for England in the recently concluded Under-19 World Cup. He made his first team debut for in 2012, playing one Twenty20 match, with the club hoping to fast track his progress in the coming years.

While David Murphy would be the senior keeper in the absence of O'Brien, he has recently been included in the Scotland squad so his availability could be compromised in 2013.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo