Matthew Hoggard's claims that he had been offered the Yorkshire captaincy shortly before his contract was terminated have been denied by club officials, as his 15-year association with the county came to an acrimonious end this week.
Hoggard, who will be 33 by the time the 2010 season starts, made no attempt to hide his feelings, telling the Times newspaper that he was "shocked and bitterly disappointed" at Yorkshire's decision to release him.
"I think I've been loyal to Yorkshire," he told the newspaper. "I wanted to commit the rest of my career to the club and I'd have relished the thought of captaincy, which I had discussed. Now I've effectively been sacked and I'm not even going to play for Yorkshire again, which makes me incredibly sad."
However, Yorkshire hit back in a press release, stating that the captaincy was an issue that Hoggard himself had tabled at a meeting with Colin Graves, the chairman, and that no offer had ever been made. Furthermore, the club expressed its disappointment that Hoggard had leaked the news of his departure, adding that he had been offered an "extremely competitive" two-year deal at the beginning of the season, with the option of a third year based on performance.
"[It was] a deal that would have retained his position as one of the highest earners at the county," read the release. "[But] Matthew turned that contract offer down as he wanted a higher salary and a longer contract."
As the summer progressed, however, Yorkshire conducted a review of its playing staff for the 2010 season, to take into account the tightening of work permit regulations for overseas players and the demand for young England qualified talent, as well as the difficult economic climate. Last Thursday the club coach Martyn Moxon and Stewart Regan, the chief executive, told Hoggard that a deal was no longer on the table.
"What really upsets me is that I wasn't given the chance in my final game to say goodbye to the Yorkshire supporters, who've been so good to me over the years," Hoggard told The Times. "Other players who knew that they weren't going to be around next year were given a handshake and a send-off in front of the fans. All I got after 15 years at the club was a cup of coffee in the chief executive's office."
It is believed that several counties are interested in signing Hoggard, although Yorkshire expressed their annoyance that he had gone public with the news at a time when the club and the Professional Cricketers' Association had been working together to assist his transition to a new county in the "most positive manner possible".
"I'm just going to have to look at other options now," he said. "I was looking forward to using my experience to bring on the next generation of Yorkshire bowlers, but I'll have to do that somewhere else now. I still feel as though I've got a good few years in me and it's up to me now to prove that Yorkshire were wrong to let me go."
"I would like to thank Hoggy for his contribution to the team during my time here at Yorkshire," said Moxon. "He always gave 100% and his presence in the team has dug us out of a hole on more than one occasion. I know he will continue to give his all and I wish him every success in the future."
Regan added: "Matthew Hoggard's bowling statistics speak for themselves and he has been one of the country's top bowlers during his time at the club. On behalf of the Board of Directors I would like to thank him for his outstanding contribution to the game of cricket for both Yorkshire and England and wish him and his family all the very best going forward."