Northamptonshire have announced that Andrew Hall and Matthew Spriegel will be released at the end of the season.
The Steelbacks’ CEO David Smith told Sky Sports: “These are always difficult decisions to make regarding players futures, but they are always made in the best interests of moving the club forward over the next few years.”
Hall will be a particularly notable absentee from their squad next season, which is destined for Division Two cricket after an abysmal campaign in the top tier.
The South African – who played 21 Tests and 88 ODIs for his country – captained Northants between 2010 and 2012, and has been at the club for seven years. His best figures came in 2008, when he took 6-21 against Worcestershire Royals.
He has played less and less in the T20 and One-Day campaigns in which they were erratic, though he was a regular fixture in their County Championship side.
As for all-rounder Spriegel, his career at Wantage Road proved far shorter, having only joined in 2012 on a two-year-deal from Surrey.
In that time, however, he played a huge part as Northants won the 2013 Friends Life T20 trophy, featuring in every game in that tournament.
Hall and Spriegel took a wicket apiece as they missed out on the quarter-finals of the Royal London One-Day Cup, losing out to Essex by four wickets despite a David Willey century.
Unsurprisingly, the upper echelons of the club are keen to oversee change in the close season, overhauling a decimated dressing room in order to bounce straight back from Division Two.
Division One woes
The gulf between the two divisions has always been evident, but rarely has a newly-promoted side struggled to the extent that Northants have.
The only shock, perhaps, is that two of Northants’ key bowlers are the first to face the axe, considering CEO Smith blamed their ailing batsmen earlier in the season for their poor performances.
Spriegel has also contributed his fair share with the bat this season, but they may need to look to new faces to bolster what will be a depleted bowling attack.
Another former captain, David Sales, is also heading for the exit, after struggling with injuries almost for his entire career. A torn ankle ligament ruled him out of much of the current campaign, and the 36-year-old has now decided to bow out of the county he has spent all of his playing days with.
In better news for the Steelbacks’ beleaguered fans, Alex Wakely will be fit again in time for next season, having not featured in a single match this time round after tearing his achilles in a pre-season tour game in Barbados.