Cricket: Adams allowed to leave Derbyshire

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The Independent Online
Chris Adams was yesterday granted his freedom from Derbyshire by the England and Wales Cricket Board's Registrations Committee.

The highly rated batsman, released from his contract with the Midlands county after a stormy relationship with their committee over the past two seasons, successfully fought to be downgraded from a List One to a List Two player at yesterday's meeting at Lord's.

It gives the 27-year-old, believed to have been offered a pounds 100,000 contract by Sussex, total freedom of movement, rather than be restricted to just a handful of prospective new counties if he had kept his List One registration.

The regulations state that only two List One players can be signed by a county in a five-year period - a rule designed to protect the wealthier counties recruiting all the best talent. A statement from the ECB read: "The decision was taken because it was felt Derbyshire had misinterpreted the regulations as, having released the player from his current contract, he could no longer be a List One player."

However, the ECB stressed: "There should be a `cooling off' period of 14 days in this matter during which time the player should not be able to conclude a contract with any county, although he can negotiate terms and enter into discussions if he so desires." Adams' downgrading to List Two makes him available to every county and is likely to spark a football-style transfer scramble for his services, with Warwickshire and Kent believed to be joining Sussex in the chase for the player.

Nottinghamshire yesterday completed the signing of the Zimbabwe leg-spinner, Paul Strang, as their overseas player for the next two seasons.

The 27-year-old Test player put pen to paper after flying to England to hold further contract negotiations with Nottinghamshire officials, who switched their attentions to Strang after failing to persuade Shane Warne to play county cricket.

Strang enjoyed a hugely successful season with Kent, for whom Carl Hooper replaces him as overseas player, and claimed 63 first-class wickets and scored more than 500 runs.

"It's a vital part of any team planning to have the matter of your overseas player resolved at an early point in proceedings, which is why we are delighted to have Paul on board," Nottinghamshire's cricket manager, Alan Ormrod, said.

Strang said: "It was sad to leave Kent in many respects but I'm glad that I've been given this chance. There is a lot of potential at Trent Bridge and there are exciting times ahead."