Yorkshire re-shuffle begins
The fall-out after Yorkshire's disastrous season, in which they were relegated to the second division for only the second time since championship was split into two divisions 11 years ago, has begun. The club has released bowler Ben Sanderson and allrounder Lee Hodgson and spinner David Wainwright has exercised the clause in his contract which means he can request to be released if he isn't playing regular first-team cricket.
Sanderson has struggled to force his way into the first XI since his first-class debut in 2008, and wasn't part of Yorkshire's championship team this summer. Hodgson has also been languishing in the second XI, while Wainwright has had limited opportunities in first-class cricket.
The re-shuffling also includes a slew of new contracts and extensions as the county looks to move on from a disastrous season and build for the future. Former England Under-19 offspinner Azeem Rafiq, 20, and Zimbabwe-born batsman Gary Ballance, 21, have both committed their futures to Yorkshire by signing two-year extensions to their contracts. Seamer Moin Ashraf, 19, and batsman Joe Root, 20, have been offered similar deals and it is hoped both will sign soon.
Ballance has been one of Yorkshire's better players during a summer which has seen several dire batting performances, with 717 runs at 42.17 in the championship and 331 runs at 55.16 in the Clydesdale Bank 40. Root has also enjoyed some first-class success, with 937 runs including a century and four fifties.
Rafiq's contributions this year have been made mainly in Twenty20 cricket, in which he took eight wickets at an economy of 7.32, while Ashraf is still feeling his way into the first XI, but managed 10 wickets in six championship matches.
"We are delighted to offer contract extensions to these very talented youngsters who have shown such promise in an otherwise disappointing season," said Director of Cricket, Martyn Moxon. "As is the nature of the game, we have also made the very difficult decision to release three other professionals and we wish Lee, Ben and David all the very best for the future."
Junior pro contracts have also been awarded to teenagers Alex Lees, a left-hand batsman, and James Wainman, a left-arm seamer, while summer contracts had been issued to Callum Geldart, Alex Lilley, and wicketkeeper/batsman Dan Hodgson.