Rayner’s return to Middlesex may become permanent

Ollie Rayner seems set for a permanent move from Sussex to Middlesex after agreeing to his second loan spell of the summer at Lord’s.

Rayner, the 25-year-old off-spinning all-rounder, is to leave Sussex immediately for a month-loan long at Middlesex which will take him to the end of the season.

He enjoyed a six-week loan spell at Lord’s at the start of this summer, and made a very favourable impact in the Middlesex dressing room.

Angus Fraser, the Middlesex managing director of cricket, said: “Ollie fitted in extremely well and the positive way he plays cricket had a strong influence on the team. We are delighted to have him back and look forward to him carrying on where he left off for us in May.”

Rayner will make his Middlesex ‘comeback’ in the Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Derbyshire at Chesterfield on Sunday August 21, but under the terms of the loan agreement he will not be selected for Middlesex’s home CB40 game against Sussex at Lord’s on Monday August 29.

His return to Middlesex, however, does not bode well for the prospects of Tom Smith, the 24-year-old left-arm spinner who, ironically, left Sussex for Middlesex at the end of 2009 after three seasons at Hove, and it may even put Jamie Dalrymple’s place in the side under pressure.

Mark Robinson, the Sussex cricket manager, said: “At this stage of his career, Ollie needs to be playing first team cricket and this loan allows him to do that at a time when, barring injuries, he is unlikely to feature regularly for Sussex.”

With Monty Panesar bowling a large percentage of Sussex’s overs, and with Chris Nash’s off breaks regularly under-used, it seems increasingly likely that Sussex will be happy to let Rayner go.

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