Reece Topley signs white-ball contract with Hampshire

Reece Topley is the latest England international to turn his back on the first-class game and commit only to white-ball cricket.

The fast bowler, who has played 10 one-day internationals and six Twenty20 internationals for England, has signed a contract with Hampshire for the 2018 season where he will only be available for limited-overs cricket.

The 24-year-old follows in the footsteps of international team-mates Adil Rashid and Alex Hales in making themselves unavailable for red-ball cricket.

A statement on Hampshire’s website read: “Hampshire Cricket can announce that seamer Reece Topley has signed a white-ball contract with the club for the 2018 season.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain has urged the sport's governing bodies to protect first class and test cricket as players begin to choose to exclusively play with the white ball.

“Topley, who joined Hampshire at the end of 2015, penned the new deal in December as part of a programme to help maximise his playing opportunities whilst preventing injury, throughout the course of the season.”

The left-armer’s 2017 season was ravaged with injuries and he did not play after July due to a stress fracture in his back following an earlier hand problem.

He has returned to action over the winter, being part of England’s Pace Programme, and will be fit for the start of Hampshire’s campaign in April, while also intending to return to red-ball cricket in the future.

Topley said: “It has been a frustrating time for me as a young bowler. It is hoped that this proposal will assist me by preventing further injury as my body matures.

Adil Rashid has admitted he was going through the motions at times when playing red-ball cricket for Yorkshire last year.

“Going forward, I do hope to return to red-ball cricket and still harbour ambitions of being the first left-arm fast bowler to take 100 Test wickets for England but that remains a long-term goal.

“The short-term goal is simply to return to performing for Hampshire and only then perhaps to try and resurrect playing for England where I am still ambitious to add to my 16 caps.

“I would like to thank Hampshire for their understanding and continued support and cannot wait for the coming season.”