Alex Lees admits Durham switch is ‘bittersweet’ after leaving Yorkshire

Alex Lees.
Alex Lees.
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Durham CCC new boy Alex Lees hopes a change of scenery can help reignite his career.

The 25-year-old joins Durham from Yorkshire on a three-year deal to add experience and quality to the county’s Championship squad.

Lees helped Yorkshire win back-to-back County Championship titles in 2014 and 2015, was named as their captain in both white ball formats, aged just 22. and was noticed by England selectors, earning a place on Lions trips to Sri Lanka and South Africa.

However, he has slipped down the pecking order at Headingly and while he is disappointed to leave his home county, it was the right time to move on.

“I think naturally there’s a bit of disappointment,” said Lees. “I’ve probably been an important part of the team for the past five years or so, and to now be leaving makes it bittersweet.

“Under Jason Gillespie (the previous coach), I probably flourished, but the last 16 months I just haven’t been as fluent as I’d have hoped to be.

“It has been quite difficult and I haven’t played much cricket, which I’ve found quite tough with my rhythm and fluidity, but I think a new challenge, a new set of players, new checkpoints and targets is something I’m looking forward to.”

Durham head coach Jon Lewis admitted he was delighted to bag Lees, with Durham having had to fight off interest from other interested counties.

Lewis said: “We’re delighted that Alex has signed for the club and believe that his experience and skillset will make him a perfect fit at Emirates Riverside.

“When an English batsman of his age and ability becomes available, it’s a no brainer and we’re pleased that he has chosen Durham as we were aware that other counties were looking at him.

“Adding him into our squad gives us great options across both red ball and white ball and we are looking forward to seeing him continue to develop during the coming years at Durham and put himself back in contention for an England spot.”

Lees will join the club on loan for the remainder of Durham’s 2018 season and will be available for the Specsavers County Championship fixture against Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens on Sunday.

Lees has played 89 First Class matches, scoring just shy of 5000 runs and averaging 34.53.