Neil McKenzie moves April 13, 2004

McKenzie becomes a Lion

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Neil McKenzie, the South African Test batsman, has been released by Easterns and will now play for the new Highveld Lions team. McKenzie, 28, has scored 2028 runs in his 41 Tests, with two centuries.

McKenzie had not been selected for the Titans in their first two Standard Bank Pro 20 matches, Brandon Foot, Easterns' chairman, explained that he had been released by the franchise to further his career. He said: "Neil has indicated to me that, as a national player striving to achieve recognition in the limited-overs version of the game, it is important to him that he play as many Pro 20 matches as possible. We have elected not to stand in Neil's way, but to afford him the opportunity of competing for the Highveld Lions, in the best interests of his career. This is, of course, also in line with the decision of the UCBSA to reduce the number of professional teams competing in South African domestic cricket and to ensure that playing strength is spread evenly amongst all the franchises in the country."

Dave Nosworthy, the Titans' coach, said it was obviously a blow to lose a player of Neil's calibre. "Neil has served Northerns well and is a player of quality. We wish him all the very best for his future career."

McKenzie concluded: "I would like to thank Northerns Cricket Union for all that they have done for me. Northerns is a truly professional set-up from their administration right down to the change-room attendant. I believe other unions can take a leaf out of Northerns' book, who always allow cricket to prevail. I am sad to be leaving the Nashua Titans and will always be grateful to them for having afforded me the opportunities necessary, to allow me to be selected for South Africa. I wish them well in the future."