Northants lose key duo
Northants will be without two of their key players for the start of the new domestic season.
By Rachel Griffiths
Last Updated: 11/02/10 4:22pm
Northamptonshire will be without two of their key players for the new season after losing appeals regarding the changing of visa regulations.
Riki Wessels and Johan van der Wath will not rejoin the side after a court ruled against the club's pleas of leniency in the changing of immigration criteria.
Wicketkeeper Wessels averaged 35 with the bat last season, while Van der Wath finished the campaign as leading bowler for the club, taking 50 wickets in the LV County Championship.
The decision concluded a five-month battle to keep the club's prize duo and Northamptonshire chief executive Mark Tagg was extremely disappointed with the ruling.
"We are obviously devastated that Johan, who has been with us since 2006, and Riki who has been here even longer, since 2004, will be unable to see out their contracts," Tagg told www.northantscricket.com.
Head coach David Capel believes the club must look toward the upcoming season rather than dwell on the setback.
"Obviously I'm disappointed for the players at the outcome of this appeal. I know that both players will be gutted," said Capel.
"Johan and Riki have made significant wholehearted contributions to Northants cricket and the English game during the past few seasons and given much to the club and its supporters.
"We have now got to move forward. We fought hard for them to come back but the decision has been made and is final. There is nothing more that can be done.
"We will be stepping up the search for suitable replacements, especially in the strike bowling department in an attempt to replicate the valuable cutting edge that Johan provided for us."