Wicketkeeper Steve Davies has become the first of Worcestershire’s disaffected players to sign up with a new county.
The 23-year-old England Twenty20 international will join Surrey on a three-year contract next season having rejected a new deal with his native county.
Davies will be followed out of New Road by former England off-spinner Gareth Batty, who is also believed to be Surrey-bound having successfully requested his release from the final year of his contract with Worcestershire.
England Lions opening batsman Stephen Moore is also expected to depart Worcestershire as he has a clause in the three-year deal he agreed last year which allows him to move on if Worcestershire are relegated in the County Championship.
Worcestershire’s fate is likely to be sealed in the next couple of weeks and Warwickshire remain the favourites to sign Moore.
The future of former England swing bowler Kabir Ali is also in doubt despite his reecent insistence that he would be staying at New Road.
Kabir also has a year remaining in his contract but is understood to have been unsettled by the exodus of senior players and is concerned that he will be left to lead an attack comprised of untried youngsters or other county cast-offs if he remains at New Road.
Davies’ departure is a particularly hard blow for Worcestershire because he is one of the few successes of the club’s youth and academy system. Davies is also the first signing made by Surrey’s Professional Cricket Manager Chris Adams.
“We are looking to build a side that will be capable of winning trophies for many years to come and Steven is exactly the kind of player that will help us do that,” Adams said.
“He has proven his talent on the domestic scene and I hope that by moving to Surrey he will be able to establish himself at the highest possible level.”
Worcestershire are expected to replace Davies with Gloucestershire wicketkeeper Steve Adshead. Adshead, 29, is born and raised in Worcestershire and had a brief stint with the county in 2003 between being released by Leicestershire and joining Gloucestershire.
Until this month Gloucestershire had preferred Steve Snell as their first-choice wicketkeeper in the County Championship this season but Adshead has played in the last three games and made a century in the second of them against Essex at Southend.