Cricket: Chairman blames Wells for Sussex exodus

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The Sussex chairman, Alan Caffyn, yesterday blamed the county's former captain, Alan Wells, for the number of high-profile departures from the club.

Caffyn claimed almost all the Sussex players are relieved that Wells, who was with the county for 15 years and captain for the last five, has left for Kent.

The 35-year-old former England batsman was dismissed as captain last October, but the Sussex coach, Desmond Haynes, had expressed doubt over his leadership qualities much earlier.

Caffyn revealed that Haynes told him at the end of May he did not feel Wells was the right man to lead the side. "I thought it was too early to do anything," the Sussex chairman said. "I think it was the right decision to take action at the end of the season. Unfortunately, the damage had been done.

"The thing that surprised me more than anything when we replaced Alan with Peter Moores and when Alan eventually decided to leave was that almost all the players came out to a man and said `Thank goodness he's gone'. They admired him as a player, but they did not like his captaincy at all."

Caffyn said that was the main reason that the leg-spinner Ian Salisbury left for Surrey and was a factor in the all-rounder Danny Law deciding to join Essex.

Martin Speight is set to become the sixth Sussex player to leave since the end of last season. He is likely to join Durham.

Wells was "saddened and shocked" by Caffyn's comments. "It would be wrong of me to get involved in a slanging match. I felt I said very little as far as individuals were concerned at the time of my sacking. That's history now," Wells said. "These comments are hurtful but I don't want the chance to reply. I'll let them get on with it."