Lee Daggett has suffered a fresh setback after Leicestershire abandoned their attempt to take him on loan from Warwickshire.
The bowler, who will not be given a new contract when his current one expires at the end of September, had been offered a loan spell at Grace Road. A row over who should pay his salary has made progress impossible, however, and Leicestershire have decided to pursue other options
Daggett, who is still struggling for equilibrium after he was told he would not be re-engaged at Edgbaston, admits to disappointment but says there are “irons in fires” elsewhere and still hopes to find another county.
Hampshire are understood to have shown some interest.
The incident - ‘Daggett-gate’ as it almost certainly will not come to be known - has raised some interesting questions about the loan system and a county’s obligation of care to their released players.
While Warwickshire are right in pointing out that it is normal for the county benefiting from the player’s services to pay one-sixth of his annual salary, the situation is somewhat less clear when a player is just seeing out his contract, having been notified of his release.
Kevin Latouf, the batsmen playing for Warwickshire’s second XI on trial, is still being paid by Hampshire.
Unlike Leicestershire, however, Hampshire are not in the same division of the County Championship or the Pro-40, and Warwickshire’s reluctance to finance the staff of a rival county is understandable.
Nevertheless, the situation has left Leicestershire chief executive, David ‘KD’ Smith, incensed. He believes that Warwickshire’s stance is derived from Ashley Giles’ dislike for him and delivered a scathing attack on Warwickshire’s director of cricket, questioning not only his experience for the job, but also his motives.
“We fell it is better for Lee that we do not let this drag on,” Smith said. “We were very keen to have Lee on a month’s loan but despite deciding the player had no future at the club and knowing that they had a contractual obligation to pay Lee until September 30, Warwickshire’s insistence on Leicestershire paying the player’s wages during the loan have rendered the deal dead.
“I have to except that Ashley has just made the transition from the dressing room to director of cricket and at this stage has very little management experience. The only way common sense could have prevailed was if a more senior, experienced manager at the club had become involved in looking at the issues behind this loan proposal.
“I have a massive job to do here and have no intention of telling Warwickshire how to run their club. I would, however, point out that with over 20 years’ experience of the club in both a playing and committee capacity, this would never have been allowed to happen in the more successful eras at this once-great club.
“I will not be falling out with anyone at the club. I consider myself very fortunate to have had such a lengthy and happy involvement at Warwickshire. We simply move on.”
There is clearly some irony in the phrase about ‘not falling out with anyone’. The relationship between Smith and Giles is far from cosy and Warwickshire will be infuriated by Leicestershire’s stance.
While the argument can be seen from either side, there is no doubt that Daggett is the innocent victim. It would be a shame if the spat proved the final chapter in his playing career.