Trio depart as Essex rebuild

ESSEX have announced they have extended the contracts of Tony Palladino and John Maunders, but James Middlebrook and Jahid Ahmed have both been released, while Jason Gallian will retire. Off-spinner Middlebrook joined the county in 2002 and played over 10

ESSEX have announced they have extended the contracts of Tony Palladino and John Maunders, but James Middlebrook and Jahid Ahmed have both been released, while Jason Gallian will retire.

Off-spinner Middlebrook joined the county in 2002 and played over 100 matches.

He has struggled to win a place in the team this season though, and is now looking to find a new county.

"It's been great to play a major part in a winning team over the past eight years at Essex," he said.

"I'm in my prime now and have a wealth of experience and skill to offer a new county."

Fast bowler Ahmed had been with Essex since 2005, but played just seven first-class matches, though he did take 4-32 against the touring Sri Lankans in 2006.

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"I started playing when I was 17, where I started off in the Essex Academy," he said.

"Going forward I hope to earn myself a new contract with another county.

"I am not giving up, I am determined to be a success and will do all I can to stay within the game.

"I would like to thank all at Essex for the service that they have provided me."

Meanwhile, Gallian, 38, called time on his career, after spending almost two decades in the game and winning three Test caps for England.

"I have spent 19 years playing professional cricket which I have thoroughly enjoyed and had a great experience," he said.

"My last challenge has been at Essex, and the highlight in 2008 was being involved in the winning of two trophies.

"However, all good things come to an end.

"Essex have a lot of young players coming through and it is now their time to perform.

"I am pleased to have finished my playing career at a club as good as Essex."

First-team coach Paul Grayson thanked the trio for their efforts at the club.

"Jason has done well for us for the past two years," he said.

"Unfortunately he has struggled for runs in the County Championship this season.

"He is good to have around the dressing room with his knowledge and experience of the game. All of us wish him well in the future.

"James has served Essex really well in the last eight years.

"He clearly has a lot to offer the game and we will support him in every way in finding him a new challenge elsewhere.

"Jahid is a young prospect, although he has been unable to force his way into the first XI squad and he currently sits down the bowling pecking order here at Essex.

"We owe it to Jahid to allow him a chance to prove himself with another county.

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