Bears keen on Mushy move
Warwickshire insist they have contacted Sussex over Mushtaq Ahmed.
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 07/08/07 8:54pm
Warwickshire have insisted that they have made a formal written approach for Mushtaq Ahmed, despite his current county Sussex insisting they have heard nothing.
Reports have been circulating that the Bears were due to make a move for veteran leg-spinner Mushtaq, with his Sussex contract due to expire at the end of the season.
Sussex insisted that they had heard nothing from Warwickshire about a move for the 37-year-old, and were certain he would remain at Hove if he decided to extend his career.
New county rules mean that only one overseas star can feature per county next season, meaning that Sussex would have to deice between Mushtaq or Pakistan compatriot Rana Naved-ul-Hasan should Mushtaq stay.
"I will be surprised if Mushtaq is anywhere but here should he decide to carry on playing next season," said Sussex cricket manager Mark Robinson.
"Of course you never say never about anything but we have got a good relationship with Mushtaq. He has been the best bowler in the county championship since 2003.
"But if there are to be negotiations we will not conduct them in public because we also have a high regard and great respect for Rana Naved as a player and as a person."
Sussex chief executive Gus Mackay also said: "I can confirm that we have received no approach from Warwickshire."
Letter twistHowever, Warwickshire operations manager Keith Cook has insisted that they have tried to make contact with Sussex about Mushtaq, and will do so in person when the two sides meet in the County Championship on Wednesday.
"I posted a letter on Saturday morning giving Sussex 28 days notice of our request to speak to Mushtaq Ahmed," said Cook.
"It may be that the letter has been delayed in the post. If that is the case, I will hand deliver a copy of the letter on Wednesday morning when we play at Hove."
The fact that Sussex could have to choose between Mushtaq and Rana could play into Warwickshire's hands should the veteran spinner decide he does want to continue playing next season.
Warwickshire have struggled to take wickets since South African paceman Dale Steyn returned home in mid-June after a short spell with the county.
Up and coming Leicestershire and England paceman Stuart Broad is also a target for Warwickshire as he is also out-of-contract at the end of the season, but Nottinghamshire are thought to be favourites to sign him.