Hampshire secure services of Crawley

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The Independent Online

John Crawley is joining Hampshire after being released from his contract at Old Trafford.

Lancashire have finally reached an agreement with Crawley after a long-running dispute dating back to his removal as captain at the end of last season. The Old Trafford team avoided relegation only on the last day of a poor season and Crawley was replaced by the wicketkeeper Warren Hegg as captain.

Crawley then lost a legal challenge to secure his release, in which he cited constructive dismissal. Hampshire's agreement to contribute towards the contract buy-out costs of a player they have courted for some time takes county cricket a step closer to a football-style transfer market.

The former England batsman then informed the county that he was "resigning" from his contract due to irreconcilable differences. Lancashire, however, refused to release him, forcing him to take his case to the England and Wales Cricket Board's Contracts Appeals Committee. He was unsuccessful as Lancashire were found not guilty of a serious or persistent breach of contract.

The verdict left Crawley's career in the balance as he had stated that he would not play for the county again. But, having made their point, Lancashire paved the way for the release of 31-year-old with the signing of the former Yorkshire captain David Byas.