Middlesex CCC today regret to announce that Steven Crook has been allowed to leave the Club and has signed a two-year contract with Northamptonshire CCC.
Crook met with Middlesex’s Cricket Management Team on Monday to ask if he could be released from the final year of his contract with the club and, after much deliberation, Middlesex reluctantly agreed to his request.
Crook’s desire to leave stems from the lack of opportunities he believes he has had and will have to play LV=CC cricket for Middlesex. Crook believes that at the age of 29 he needs and wants to play regular first-class cricket, and the opportunity to achieve this goal will be given to him by Northamptonshire.
Crook was plucked out of the cricketing wilderness by Middlesex in January 2011. Following spells with Lancashire and Northamptonshire the Australian born all-rounder quit cricket at the end of the 2009 season to pursue other interests. When these interests failed to work out he indicated he would like to return to cricket and following an initial trial period Middlesex signed him up.
In the past two seasons Crook has played 16 First-Class, 16 CB40 and 22 t20 matches for the club. In total he took 88 wickets and scored 621 runs for Middlesex.
Commenting on Crook’s departure Middlesex County Cricket Club’s Managing Director of Cricket, Angus Fraser, said: “We are naturally disappointed to lose Steven, who has become a valuable member of our squad during the course of the past two seasons. Steven has been a regular member of our CB40 and t20 sides and an extremely useful option for us in LV=CC cricket.
“It goes without saying that we would have liked Steven to stay with Middlesex but the greater opportunities and security of Northamptonshire’s offer, along with the new place of work being on his doorstep, understandably made the prospect of playing at Northampton extremely attractive. Earlier in the season, and before we were aware of Northamptonshire’s interest in Steven, we indicated that we were prepared to extend Steven’s contract with Middlesex but no interest was expressed from either he or his representative.
“We could have held on to Steven and kept him to his contract but in the end I felt it would be morally wrong to deprive him of the opportunity made to him. It was clear at our meeting that Steven had set his heart on moving back to Northampton. Steven is a cracking lad. He is selfless and has never given anything but 100 per cent commitment to the club. And because of that you want to do the right thing for him too.
“It is sad to see Steven go but we wish him every success with Northamptonshire, except, of course, when he plays against Middlesex. We have no plans to replace him and his absence will give Middlesex the chance to introduce one or two of our talented youngsters in to the 1st XI in 2013.”