County news – Ben Brown joins Sussex exodus after requesting early contract release

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Experienced wicketkeeper was axed as captain in mid-summer time

Ben Brown has been launched from his contract with Sussex two years early at his personal request after shedding the captaincy in mid-summer time, making him the newest excessive-profile departure from the membership after Chris Jordan and Phil Salt.

Brown has been a Sussex participant since Under-11 stage and has been a primary-workforce participant since 2007. He was awarded the membership captaincy on a full-time foundation in 2018 after taking up the position halfway via the 2017 season and signed a contract extension in 2020, however Sussex introduced halfway via final summer time that they’d determined “the time is right for new leadership”.

He was briefly dropped from their Royal London Cup squad and when he returned to the squad he was chosen as a specialist batter somewhat than a wicketkeeper. Despite the upheaval – and being requested to bat out of place at No. 3 within the ultimate month of the season – Brown had essentially the most prolific Championship season of his profession, with 976 runs at 51.36 and 4 tons of.

“Ben had two seasons remaining on his contract and, as you’d expect with a player of his quality, was very much a part of our plans for the future,” Rob Andrew, Sussex’s chief govt, stated in an announcement.

“We’ve tried hard to find a way forward that keeps him at the club and until very recently thought that would be something we could achieve. However, it’s now clear that Ben is set on a change, and it would be in nobody’s interests to keep him at Sussex against his will.

“Despite hoping it would not be needed, as soon as Ben first talked about that he was feeling unsettled it was solely prudent that we started exploring potential replacements for subsequent summer time. Ben has been a part of Sussex for over twenty years and has a document he may be extraordinarily pleased with. He has at all times given every part with the bat, the gloves or together with his captaincy.”

Under tapping-up regulations, Brown has not been permitted to speak to other counties but is likely to prove an attractive signing. He has 22 first-class hundreds and a career average above 40, is widely recognised as one of the best wicketkeepers in the country and has leadership experience. He has little T20 experience but as a result is not involved in the Hundred and made his first List A hundred against Middlesex in August.

“As this chapter of my profession attracts to a detailed, I wish to say an unlimited thanks to Sussex for the alternatives I’ve been afforded over a twenty-two-yr affiliation with the membership,” Brown said in a statement. “Since I used to be first chosen as an eleven-yr-previous I’ve made life-lengthy buddies, travelled the world, and made reminiscences for all times taking part in cricket for Sussex.

“To have had the opportunity to play as much as I have for my home club makes me immensely proud and I am hugely grateful to everyone at Sussex over the years who have helped turn my dreams into a reality. I am also thankful for the opportunity to become club captain, a job that gave me immense pride and pleasure to do, and I look forward to returning to Hove in the future to reflect on seeing my name on the captain’s board, alongside so many great names of Sussex Cricket.

“I wish to want the present squad and assist workers all the very best within the coming years, and I stay up for seeing the younger squad flourish over seasons to return at Hove. For me personally it’s time to return to being a Sussex supporter as I stay up for a brand new chapter of my cricket profession.”

Sussex have been in a state of transition in four-day cricket since their relegation from Division One of the Championship in 2015. They were expected to compete for promotion under Jason Gillespie but never managed to finish in the top two and they won the wooden spoon in Ian Salisbury’s first season in charge in 2021 while fielding the youngest team in the country and using as many as 26 different players.

Luke Wright, the club’s T20 captain, said Sussex “cannot be shedding our greatest gamers on a regular basis,” ahead of Jordan and Salt’s final appearances for the club, following the departures of Laurie Evans, Danny Briggs, Luke Wells, Chris Nash, Reece Topley and Michael Burgess in recent seasons. Stiaan van Zyl and Aaron Thomason also left the club at the end of the 2021 season, while Stuart Meaker and Mitchell Claydon have both retired and Will Beer has signed a T20-only contract despite admitting his desire to play across formats.

However, several of their best young players – including 50-over captain and leading Championship run-scorer Tom Haines, George Garton, Jack Carson and Delray Rawlins – have signed contract extensions, as have senior T20 players like Wright, Tymal Mills and Ravi Bopara. Travis Head, who struggled with the bat in his first season at the club but scored an 85-ball hundred in the first Ashes Test last week, will return as Championship captain in 2022, while the club are due to announce a major overseas signing on Thursday afternoon.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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