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Ross Whiteley to leave Worcestershire after declining white-ball contract

Hundred star linked with moves to South Coast after performances with Brave

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Ross Whiteley was a key member of Worcestershire's T20 Blast-winning side in 2018  •  Getty Images

Ross Whiteley was a key member of Worcestershire's T20 Blast-winning side in 2018  •  Getty Images

Ross Whiteley has turned down a new contract with Worcestershire and will leave the club when his current deal ends at the end of the season.
Whiteley, 32, joined the club from Derbyshire in 2013 and signed a three-year contract extension in August 2018. He was a key part of the side that won the T20 Blast in 2018 and reached the final the following summer but has been phased out of the Championship side and declined the club's offer of a white-ball-only deal.
Whiteley represented Southern Brave in the Hundred, making 44 not out off 19 balls to set up their win in the final, and ESPNcricinfo understands that Hampshire and Sussex - the two counties associated with the Brave - are the front-runners to sign him, though a number of teams had registered their interest.
Hampshire have reached Finals Day for the first time since 2017 this season but have lacked a reliable finisher in their T20 side in recent years, while Sussex are openly in the market for new signings after the recent departures of Phil Salt, Chris Jordan and Stiaan van Zyl - they have already confirmed deals for Fynn Hudson-Prentice and Steven Finn. Whiteley is understood to have made a decision on his future and an announcement is expected later this week.
Worcestershire confirmed in a club statement that Whiteley "was offered a new white-ball contract but has decided to pursue a different career path". Paul Pridgeon, the chair of their cricket steering group, said: "Ross has decided to take his career forward in a different direction and is moving to pastures new. We thank him for his contributions and wish him well in the future".
Whiteley is the latest member of their T20 side to leave the club after Riki Wessels' contract was terminated by mutual consent in July*. They struggled for batting firepower in this year's Blast - Moeen Ali was their only batter to end the tournament with a strike rate above 140 - and missed out on the quarter-finals.
Alex Milton, the wicketkeeper-batter, will also leave the club at the end of the season. Milton made a century on his Championship debut in 2018 but has struggled for first-team opportunities with Ben Cox established as first-choice keeper and was not offered a new contract.
1000 BST - A previous version of this article said that Wessels was a member of the side that won the Blast in 2018. He joined the club ahead of the 2019 season.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98