Nottinghamshire have released three players - Anurag Singh, Russell Warren and Greg Smith. The trio have only had rare outings in the first team this season and, as the director of cricket explained, they will be making way for new talent.

A fourth player, Darren Bicknell, will not be re-employed by the club either, but he had already announced his intention to retire in September, following a long career as an opener.

"It is necessary at times to make tough decisions," said the director of cricket, Mick Newell, "and our thinking is based largely on the fact that we need to reduce the average age of our playing staff." That makes sense in the cases of 34-year-old Smith and Singh, who turns 31 this week, but Warren, a former England Under-19 player, is still only 24.

"The fact is, that we need to re-structure the playing staff to accommodate some younger players," Newell added, "and at this stage of their careers, Smith, Singh and Warren should not be playing regular second eleven cricket."

Smith, who missed only one match in last season's Championship triumph, has claimed 251 first-class wickets since Clive Rice brought him to Trent Bridge in 2001 but has struggled to make an impact this summer.

Warren, who was signed from Northamptonshire in 2003, has also been unable to claim a regular spot in the batting line-up and the same applies to Singh, although the former Warwickshire and Worcestershire opener was unlucky to suffer a shoulder injury in June when he was playing his part in the push for Twenty20 Cup honours.

"With four senior players leaving the staff," Newell added, "it obviously means that we need to find replacements and we are already working towards that."