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County news – Ross Whiteley heads for Hampshire after triumphant Southern Brave stint

County news - Ross Whiteley heads for Hampshire after triumphant Southern Brave stint

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Move for Worcestershire player raises fears over talent drain from non-hosting counties

Hampshire have confirmed the signing of Ross Whiteley on a three-year, white-ball contract in a move that will raise questions about the independence of Hundred teams from their affiliated host counties.

Whiteley, 33, announced earlier this month that he would leave Worcestershire after turning down a contract extension with the club. As revealed by ESPNcricinfo, a number of counties including Sussex were interested in signing him but he has opted to join Hampshire, saying in a club statement he was “thrilled to be joining an exciting group of players in the search for more trophies”.

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The deal will come under scrutiny since Whiteley was a key member of the Southern Brave side which won the inaugural edition of the men’s Hundred, hitting 44 not out off 19 balls in the final against Birmingham Phoenix. The Brave are based at the Ageas Bowl and there was significant overlap between their playing and coaching staff and Hampshire’s.

While there is no suggestion of wrongdoing from Hampshire or Whiteley, his comments upon completing his move will raise fears that the counties whose home grounds also host Hundred teams are effectively able to sell their club’s facilities to players from smaller counties during the course of the tournament, which could lead to a short-term talent drain.

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