Hamilton-Brown set for Oval talks as Sussex give go-ahead

Surrey moved a step closer to re-signing Rory Hamilton-Brown yesterday when Sussex gave the 22-year-old permission to speak to the London club. Although his current employers remain keen to hold on to the talented all-rounder, the lure of the captaincy at one of English cricket's biggest names may prove very difficult for him to turn down.

"The position of Sussex remains unchanged in that we have no wish to see a player of Rory's potential leave the club and our immediate aim is to agree an extended contract with him," said Sussex chairman Jim May. "However, we recognise that to achieve this aim it is appropriate to give Rory time to talk to Surrey about their opportunity. At this stage, the club has granted permission to talk only. We remain strongly of the view that Rory's cricket development is best served by remaining at Sussex."

If Hamilton-Brown does return to the Oval it would be a major boon for Surrey cricket manager Chris Adams, particularly given that the club has failed to lure the likes of Robert Key and Luke Wright in recent months.

However Hamilton-Brown, who has been at Sussex for two years and still has a season left on his current contract, is to be offered an extended deal by the Hove club.