County news September 27, 2012

Essex warn suitors off Wheater

Essex have insisted they will not be allowing Adam Wheater to leave the club, despite interest from other counties. Wheater is not out of contract at Chelmsford until the end of 2013 but has attracted the attention of several other clubs who hope to lure him with the offer of a role as first-team wicketkeeper.

Wheater, 22, who has a first-class batting average of almost 43, retains aspirations as a wicketkeeper but has been limited to a role as a specialist batsman at Essex by the presence of former England keeper James Foster. Wheater may also have been overtaken as understudy at the club by the progress of 19-year-old Ben Foakes, who scored 93 on Championship debut in May and was named in the England Performance Programme squad to tour India later this year.

Hampshire had been linked with a move for Wheater. The club won the limited-overs double in 2012 with 21-year-old Michael Bates, a product of the club's own youth system, impressing behind the stumps and making a maiden first-class century. Concerns about his ability as a batsman linger, however, with his first-class average remaining under 20 and his List A average below 10.

Hampshire also attempted to sign James Foster in 2011, before he recommitted his future to Essex.

"Adam is contracted to us until the end of 2013," Essex's head coach, Paul Grayson, told ESPNcricinfo. "There is no release clause in his contract. He's staying."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo