Lee Daggett’s career was in limbo last night after Warwickshire declined to allow him to go on loan to Leicestershire.
Daggett, whose ‘release’ from Warwickshire was announced last week, had been offered a trial at Grace Road and was guaranteed to play in tonight’s televised Pro-40 match against Kent at Canterbury.
However Warwickshire, who retain Daggett’s registration, have asked Leicestershire to pay one-sixth of the player’s monthly salary and refused to release him until Leicestershire agree. It means that 25-year-old Daggett may miss out on the chance to impress a new employer and threatens his attempts to resurrect his career.
“I’m very disappointed,” Leicestershire’s chief executive, David ‘KD’ Smith said last night. “We want to help Lee get his career back on track but we can’t.
“The main issue here is the welfare of a young man. I don’t know if Warwickshire are frightened that he will take five wickets and make them look silly or they are just trying to claw back a little cash. Either way, it’s not in the best interests of Lee. If he performs we want to offer him a contract but Warwickshire are preventing him getting on with his career.”
Leicestershire, of course, could be accused of trying to gain a player on the cheap. It is normal practise that the county utilising the player pays one-sixth of his salary and Warwickshire could argue with some logic that it is only fair that Leicestershire pay a portion of Daggett’s salary.
In the circumstances, however, Warwickshire’s reluctance to waive such conditions is somewhat surprising. As things stand Warwickshire are obliged to pay Daggett in full up until the end of September, when his contract expires, and director of cricket, Ashley Giles, has previously said that Warwickshire will “go along with whatever they [the released players] want,” in order to help them find new counties. While their desire to make Leicestershire pay is understandable, the desire to help a young man whose career is at a crossroads should surely be paramount.
The Professional Cricketers’ Association was last night urging Warwickshire to relent, while it was anticipated that Daggett would make a personal plea to Giles.