19 Mar 2009

ECB unhappy with Counties hiring Australians

6:27 am on 19 March 2009

England cricket chiefs have expressed dismay over counties hiring Australians ahead of this year's Ashes series because it will give them time to adjust to local conditions.

England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Hugh Morris criticised Kent's decision this week to sign seamer Stuart Clark as he makes his comeback from an elbow injury.

Morris says the decision to sign Clark so he can continue his rehabilitation to enable him to be fit for the Ashes has been met with dismay throughout the game.

He says of course it is up to Kent which players they sign but it is an incredibly busy and important year for cricket in England and they wish to give the team every chance of regaining the Ashes.

Clark's signing comes after Middlesex agreed a deal for new Australian opener Phillip Hughes to join them for the first six weeks of the 2009 season.

England selector Geoff Miller described the moves as "disappointing".