County news October 12, 2012

Keedy leaves Lancashire for Surrey

Surrey have signed Gary Keedy, the left-arm spinner, from Lancashire on a two-year deal. Keedy, 37, has been at Old Trafford since 1995, but has increasingly found first team opportunities limited due to the emergence of fellow left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan.

Surrey and Warwickshire had expressed an interest in Keedy at the end of 2011, but after he chose to remain with Lancashire he played just four Championship games in the 2012 season.

Wakefield-born Keedy left Yorkshire at the end of 1994, was capped by Lancashire in 2000, named their player of the year after taking 72 Champions wickets in 2004, awarded a benefit in 2009 and was leading wicket-taker - with 61 dismissals - as Lancashire won the County Championship title in 2011. He has claimed 50 wickets in a first-class season four times.

The arrival of Keedy at The Oval is the latest stage in the rebuilding process of the Surrey squad. With the side having lost the spine of their batting unit in recent months - Mark Ramprakash, Tom Maynard and Rory Hamilton-Brown - the club's director of cricket, Chris Adams, has been obliged to shuffle his resources. He has already brought in Vikram Solanki, 36, from Worcestershire, while the signing of Keedy is a sure sign that Adams is looking for more experience in the squad. Keedy has taken 656 first-class wickets and is a veteran of 90 List A and 72 T20 matches.

The arrival of two men in their mid to late 30s will cause consternation among some, though. Surrey already have 37-year-olds Zander de Bruyn and Jon Lewis as well as 34-year-old Gareth Batty on their staff which suggests that, unless several of the young players develop considerably, the club could face yet another rebuilding operation in a couple of years. The club have also released Chris Jordan and Matthew Spriegel, of whom they had high hopes a few years ago.

The arrival of an experienced spin bowler increases the possibility of Surrey signing a batsman as overseas player in future seasons. Surrey have signed Indian left-arm spinners Murali Kartik and Pragyan Ojha as overseas players over the last two years, but the arrival of Keedy to boost a spin attack already containing offspinner Batty and young left-arm spinners Zafar Ansari and Freddie van den Bergh, leaves Surrey well stocked in that department. The club have already approached South Africa opening batsman Graeme Smith with a view to attracting him to The Oval on a long-term deal.

"I have had a fantastic 18 seasons at Lancashire and would like to thank all the players, staff and members there for everything they have done for me," said Keedy. "Winning the County Championship in 2011 was an incredible moment for both the club and myself and one that will stay with me forever.

"However, I have reached the time in my career when I need to move on in order to fulfil my ambitions and I am very excited to be joining Surrey at this time. They are a great club with a long history and an exciting future and I am really looking to playing my part over the next few seasons."

Lancashire's director of cricket Mike Watkinson added: "Gary has been a fantastic servant to Lancashire over many seasons, both on and off the field. At Lancashire we have up and coming spinners Simon Kerrigan, Stephen Parry and Arron Lilley all looking to stake a claim and with Gary being at the latter end of his playing career he wants the opportunity of playing as much cricket as possible.

"Gary asked our permission to look at other options and he goes with our best wishes. We would like to thank him for his outstanding service to the club and we wish him well with his future endeavours."

Surrey's director of cricket, Chris Adams, said: "Gary Keedy has been one of the leading bowlers in county cricket for over a decade and I am delighted he will be joining us for the next two seasons. As well as his fantastic ability with the ball, he will play a valuable role in the dressing room throughout the year helping to impart his experience to the younger members of our squad."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo