Ashley Giles has defended Warwickshire’s stance in declining to release Lee Daggett to play for Leicestershire.
Although Warwickshire have announced their intention not to re-engage Daggett after his contract expires at the end of September, they will not release him to Leicestershire for the remainder of this season unless the club agrees to pay a portion of the player’s salary.
As Giles points out, the clubs are in the same division of both the county championship and Pro40 league and, much as Warwickshire might like to help Daggett, they can hardly afford any generosity to their rivals.
“We can’t be seen to pay the wages of a player who is in direct competition to us,” Giles said. “I would love him [Daggett] to do well. He’s a lovely bloke and we all want to see him continue his career.
“But in these circumstances it is normal for the club who have him on loan to pick up his wages. There’s no way the committee or the chief executive would accept me paying the wages of a guy who is in competition against us.
“Besides, Leicestershire are not showing that much confidence in him, are they? If they are really were serious about giving him an opportunity, they’d be prepared to pay for him. We’re not talking about a huge sum of money.”
Derbyshire are paying the wages of Leicestershire’s wicketkeeper-batsman, Tom New, and standard practice would suggest that Leicestershire pay one-sixth of Daggett’s annual salary.
While Leicestershire are interested only in offering Daggett a trial, however, they are reluctant to commit to that expense. That leaves Daggett facing the prospect of unemployment in little over a month.
There is a suspicion that personal enmity is playing a part in all this. An exchange of words over the ‘Kolpak’ issue has left the relationship between Giles and Leicestershire’s chief executive, David ‘KD’ Smith, somewhat frosty and is not helping the parties reach a compromise solution.
“I hope there’s no personal malice in this,” Smith said. “I hope Ashley’s animosity towards me is not jeopardising a player’s career. It would be a sad state of affairs if poor Lee Daggett is being used to have a go at me.
“Lee was recommended to us by Warwickshire’s captain, Darren Maddy, but we’re in a state of impasse now. We’re still keen to look at Lee, but we will have to move on and consider other options. It would be a shame if he misses this opportunity.”
Meanwhile Daggett remains in limbo. Unwanted at Edgbaston, but unable to play elsewhere, he is the innocent victim in a dispute he can do nothing to end.
While Warwickshire may well be right in principle, there is surely a case for them taking the higher moral ground and allowing Daggett every chance to resuscitate his career.