Shaun Tait won't continue at Durham next year © Getty Images

Durham have released Marcus North and Shaun Tait, their Australian overseas players, from their contracts.

North had been signed as a replacement for Herschelle Gibbs, who had been in talks, but then confirmed that he would not be joining Durham's 2004 squad, and Tait was brought in as a replacement for Shoaib Akhtar. Durham have already confirmed that Mike Hussey and Ashley Noffke, who are also both Australian, will be filling the overseas quota for the forthcoming season.

Durham have also dispensed with the services of Ian Pattison and Pallav Kumar due to extreme competition for places within the squad, and Andy Blignaut, the Zimbabwean allrounder who signed a short-term contract towards the end of the season, has not been offered an extension. Vince Wells will also not be returning to the Riverside, after announcing his retirement earlier this year.

"Each of these players has made a valuable contribution to the set up here at Durham," said David Harker, the chief executive. "The commitment of these players to the club is greatly valued, and we would like to wish them the best of luck for the future."