Derbyshire to release Cork today

Derbyshire are almost certain to agree to Dominic Cork's request to be released from the remaining two years of his contract later today. Although Cork signed a new contract in June, he is reportedly "deeply offended" by a perceived snub from Derbyshire's new director of cricket, Dave Houghton.

Houghton has made no decision about the captaincy for the 2004 season, something that has deeply angered Cork. "Of course I see a role for [Cork]; he's a fantastic cricketer who is highly regarded and respected," said Houghton. "Whether that's in a leadership role as captain or not we'll have to see after our discussion."

But relations between the county and Cork, 32, appear to be irreconcilable, and a parting is now inevitable. Cork will have to buy himself out of the contract, as John Crawley did when he left Lancashire at the end of the 2001 season.