The business world is set to claim another early retirement with former England one-day player Jamie Dalrymple expected to concentrate on a career in the city following his split with Glamorgan earlier this winter. Dalrymple, who featured for England at the 2007 World Cup, last month agreed an amicable settlement with the Welsh county, who no longer hold his registration as a result. But the 30-year-old Oxford University graduate is not thought to be seeking a new county and planning to follow the lead of Alex Loudon, his erstwhile international colleague who quit at the age of 27, in pulling up stumps prematurely and heading back to London.
One man whose signature is currently sought by English counties, Ireland slugger Kevin O’Brien, has also attracted attention from the Australian domestic scene. Franchises in the new-look Big Bash have been made aware of his availability and are primed to bid for the 27-year-old Dubliner when their signing window opens in July. Eight teams replace the traditional six state sides for the 20-over tournament and while the 20 cricketers contracted by Cricket Australia will be distributed among them in a bid to even the competition, securing the best of a limited foreign talent pool will be key in recruitment. While two overseas players will be permitted per franchise, choice will be limited because of the International Cricket Council’s packed future tours programme. In December, the month the Bash begins, Australia host New Zealand and India, the New Zealanders return home for the visit or Zimbabwe, Bangladesh play Pakistan, and South Africa host Sri Lanka, meaning that England are the only cricketing power completely free. Leading West Indies players will also be available but not until the final fortnight of the year due to their tour of the subcontinent. Adil Rashid was South Australia’s sole import as they were crowned champions for 2010-11.
Another associate country star Ryan ten Doeschate, of the Netherlands, featured for Tasmania in Australia, Mashonaland in Zimbabwe, and Canterbury in New Zealand earlier this winter and will represent Kolkata in the Indian Premier League. However, his commitment to Essex as his primary employers will be highlighted when he pens a new two-year contract this month. Chelmsford chiefs want to extend the deal of ten Doeschate, 30, to the end of the 2013 season and completion before the deadline of April 1 will deny other counties the chance to woo him – players in the final year of contracts are permitted to talk to other suitors after this date.
The Twenty20 gravy train takes in another stop this year with Sri Lanka launching their own international-flavoured domestic tournament. Seven teams will compete over a fortnight between July 20 and August 7 – conveniently wedged between the end of the group stages and quarter-finals of the Friends Provident t20, which will allow some of the bigger international names to play in both. There are plenty of slots to fill with each team allowed five overseas players (organisers plan for two to be Indian to increase commercial viability across Asia) and Surrey’s Shaun Tait, Kieron Pollard, of Somerset, and Shoaib Akhtar are among the high-profile confirmations for the inaugural event.