The talent drain at Leicestershire has continued with the departure of opening batsman Greg Smith to Nottinghamshire. Smith, 25, played in all but one of Leicestershire's games in 2014, making 862 runs in the Championship and finishing as their leading scorer in the NatWest T20 Blast.
Leicestershire finished bottom of Division Two of the Championship, having extended their winless run to two years, but Smith's partnership with Angus Robson at the top of the order was a bright spot; their stand of 206 against Gloucestershire at Bristol last month was Leicestershire's highest of the season.
Smith came through Leicestershire's academy and follows Stuart Broad, James Taylor and Harry Gurney in travelling up the M1 to Trent Bridge in recent years.
"Nottinghamshire is a great club with a proud history and I want to play a part in their continued success in the years ahead," Smith said. "Leicestershire have been great to me and I will always be grateful to the fans, the players and the coaches for the start they have given me in the game. I'm sad to be leaving the club, they will always be close to my heart and I want to wish Leicestershire all the best for the future.
"However, it feels like the right time to start a fresh chapter in my career and I'm very excited to be moving to Trent Bridge."
Smith made an impression on Nottinghamshire's director of cricket, Mick Newell, when scoring a 52-ball hundred against them during the T20 Blast in June. With Phil Jaques having taken up a coaching position at New South Wales, rather than return for the second year of his Notts contract, and the potential for Alex Hales and James Taylor to have increased international commitments, Smith will provide Newell with another batting option.
"We've got players in and around England squads who we expect to be miss at key times and we needed to recruit a top-order batsman to accommodate that," Newell said. "Greg has scored hundreds against us for Durham University and Leicestershire and he's a player that we have kept an eye on for a long time.
"He will begin the season in competition with Steven Mullaney and Jake Libby for a place at the top of the order and it's up to all three of those players to catch the eye during our pre-season matches."
Smith's first-class average of 28.68 might suggest he is under-qualified for life in Division One but it seems his increasingly destructive displays in limited-overs cricket - Smith and the recently departed Josh Cobb set a Leicestershire List A record of 235 for the first wicket last year - have encouraged Nottinghamshire that he is capable of developing further.
"Greg has done well for Leicestershire but we feel he has significant potential which we want to tap into," said Newell. "He can make a contribution in all formats and he will add depth and competition for a key place in our team."