Warwickshire have made an approach for Leicestershire batsman James Taylor, one of England’s brightest prospects.
Taylor still has a year remaining on his existing contract with Leicestershire but Warwickshire have offered to buy him out of the deal and have even offered one of their own players in part exchange to soften the blow.
Leicestershire have resisted Warwickshire’s initial approach and indicated that they would like to retain Taylor until the end of next season when he will become a free agent.
But much will depend on whether Taylor is prepared to see out the remainder of his three-year contract or whether he is now looking to move to a Test match ground county to further his England ambitions.
Much has changed at Grace Road since Taylor, 21, signed a three-year contract. The resignation of Tim Boon as the county’s senior coach has left Leicestershire without a specialist batting coach and a season that began with high hopes of County Championship promotion has soon turned into disappointment.
Taylor is highly-regarded by Warwickshire’s director of cricket Ashley Giles, one of England’s selectors, and he impressed in making a brilliant century in defeat in a Clydesdale Bank 40 match at Edgbaston last month.
Having shone for the England Lions in the Caribbean earlier in the year, Taylor is now expected to continue his career development by being named in England’s one-day squad for the forthcoming series against Sri Lanka.
Four years ago Leicestershire lost Stuart Broad to neighbours Nottinghamshire and they now look set to lose another of their talented home produced youngsters to a wealthier neighbouring Test match county.
The consolation will be that if Taylor does go on to play for England they will continue to be well-rewarded by the England and Wales Cricket Board for their significant contribution to his development.
Meanwhile, Giles has admitted that his side will need to win five of their last seven Friends Life t20 matches if they are to have any hope of making the quarter-finals.
Warwickshire have only once reached the final of the competition and that was back in 2003, the first year of Twenty20 Cup cricket, but they have only once failed to make the knockout stages.
But they have fallen away badly this season after they beat Durham and Yorkshire on the road in their first two matches and have slipped into the bottom three after two defeats at Edgbaston in three days, the latest a ten wickets mauling by Lancashire.
Warwickshire are under pressure not just to reach the quarter-finals but to go through to finals day which will be staged at Edgbaston for the fourth time this year in front of a new £32 million pavilion.
“We are just piling the pressure on ourselves now. We have seven games left and we probably need to win five of them. I would think which we are capable of doing but not if we are playing the way we are at the moment,” Giles said.
“It’s going to be tough. We have made it difficult for ourselves. We have got no one to blame and no excuses. We have played some indifferent cricket in T20 after a brilliant start against Durham and Yorkshire on the road.”
Warwickshire have yet to win a T20 match at Edgbaston this season where the pitches have been generally slow and assisted opposition attacks.
But Giles is reluctant to use pitches as the only excuse for Warwickshire alarming decline in teh short form of the game.
“The Lancashire performance was as poor as IU can remember in my term,” Giles said. “You can complain a bit about the wicket because it helped their bowlers but we bowled on the same wicket and they were going at nine an over.
“We lost all aspects of the game today and we have done that in other games. I do go back to those two games against Northamptonshire and Worcestershire which we should have won.
“They do make a big difference to your ambitions to go through tot the quarter-finals. You can learn from these games. As long as you are getting better when you get to the quarter finals you are OK. But we have missed key opportunities in this tournament.”