Cliff and Dixey in the frame for Leics

Leicestershire have given former county seamer Sam Cliff the chance to resurrect his county career.

Cliff was forced to retire from first-class cricket at the end of last season because of injury problems but his retirement might prove short-lived.

Leicestershire have already invited Cliff, a painter and decorator by trade, back to Grace Road for pre-season training where he will be assessed by the coaches.

“We know what type of player we have if Sam’s fit and everything is going well and his recovery is on track,” said Leicestershire head coach Phil Whitticase. “He will link in with us in pre-season and we’ll see how he progresses.”

Leicestershire will also run the rule over former Kent wicketkeeper Paul Dixey, who has been included in the Unicorns squad for this year’s Clydesdale Bank 40 competition.

Former England Under-19 keeper Dixey is highly-rated but he was released by Kent last September as part of their cost-cutting measures.

Leicestershire have a wicketkeeping vacancy, having released Joel Pope, and they will have a look at Dixey in pre-season along with Ned Eckersley of the MCC Young Cricketers, who is also in the Unicorns squad.

Meanwhile, Leicestershire have announced insurance brokers The Oval Group will continue to be their main club sponsor this year.

Leicestershire chief executive Mike Siddall said: “It was a relief to know that we had the early backing of our main club sponsor despite all the trouble we encountered during 2010.

“It gave the Sales and Marketing team a real boost and we are now in a position, a month before the season starts, to have met our sponsorship budget for 2011.

“The help we received from Matthew Hoggard, our captain, in our discussions with Oval was enormous and went a long way to convincing them to stick with us.”

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