Cricket: Walsh not required

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The Independent Online
COURTNEY WALSH, now in South Africa with the West Indies, has criticised Gloucestershire for withdrawing their offer of a new two-year contract.

The fast bowler was the leading wicket-taker in first-class cricket last season with 106 victims, and took over 860 during his 14 years with Gloucestershire. But they now want an all-rounder, probably Australian, as their overseas recruit to cover for the likely inclusion in England's World Cup squad of their captain Mark Alleyne, and for Walsh's possible involvement in the event.

Walsh said: "I have been told the main reason for withdrawing the offer is the introduction of the two division championship in the year 2000 based on positions next season, and that the balance of the side will be upset if Mark Alleyne is selected for England's World Cup squad.

"But I believe these are not the real reasons. I have at least two good seasons of first-class cricket left."

Gloucestershire's chief executive, Colin Sexstone, said: "We had been frustrated by Courtney's lack of commitment since we made him the offer of a new contract. He hadn't said he was committed to Gloucestershire if he didn't make the West Indies World Cup squad."