Ben Mike opts out of three-year Yorkshire CCC contract to rejoin Leicestershire
The 25-year-old all-rounder joined Yorkshire on a three-year deal last summer and made 18 appearances for the county, with just two of those coming in the LV County Championship, and only one last year in his time as a permanent member of the squad.
Mike said: “I’m very thankful for my time at Yorkshire.
"I had some honest conversations with the management and whilst they wanted me to stay, it just felt right for my career to make the move back.
"It's been an honour to represent Yorkshire – and I am very thankful for the opportunity to have played for this great club and want to thank everyone there.
"I am grateful for the fans' support during my time with Yorkshire and I wish the club all the best for an exciting 2024. However, I feel this decision is right for me.
"I’m grateful for the return to Leicestershire. It’s an exciting time for the Foxes and I’m looking forward to being back there and I’m ready to kick on with the squad.
“I’ve learned a lot in my year away. I want to provide exciting moments and be a match-winner, but now is time for me to step up and put those performances in more consistently.
“It’s a really exciting time to be at Leicestershire, as we saw at the end of last season with the achievements the club made. It was great to see close friends do so well, and my aim is to help add to that in the seasons ahead.
“I think I’ll really thrive under Alfonso [Thomas]. I spent a short time with him in 2022, but I’m looking forward to linking back up with him. Naturally I’m very excited to work with James Taylor too.
"His addition last year was a massive boost, and the guys I’ve spoken to couldn’t speak highly enough of him.”
Mike played two LV= Insurance County Championship matches - making his debut for Yorkshire, whilst on loan from Leicestershire at the back end of 2022 - against Surrey at the Oval and then his second match was away at Leicestershire in September this year.
A seamer with extra pace and a hard-hitting lower order batter, his standout performance for Yorkshire was 4-40 in the thrilling one-wicket win over Surrey at York in August’s Metro Bank One-Day Cup.
Yorkshire’s managing director of cricket Darren Gough, said: “Everyone at Yorkshire CCC wants to express their gratitude for Ben Mike and wish him and his family the best of luck in this new stage.
“Due to Ben not being able to break into the four-day side he understandably wants to push on with his career and give himself the best chance to play all formats.
“The competition for places at Yorkshire has been tough with a big squad and Ben sees this as the best move for him now.
“Ben is a very talented young cricketer, and we wish him well and we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge his dedication and impact during his time with Yorkshire.”
The departure is unlikely to change Gough’s approach to recruitment for the 2024 campaign.
He has already told The Yorkshire Post he wants to make sure that any signing Yorkshire make is, first and foremost, the right one for their needs.
If come February there is any weakness in either the bowling or batting department, then he may delve into the overseas market.
“Let’s see where we are," he said ahead of their return to pre-season testing which was last week. “We can’t make any decisions yet."
Yorkshire have already released Will Fraine and Jack Shutt as they look to rebuild for next season, when they will begin life in Division Two and in the two limited-overs formats at least unencumbered by the threat of points penalties brought about by the racism crisis.
For their part, Leicestershire are delighted to welcome back a homegrown talent in Mike.
A product of their academy who debuted in 2018, he establish himself as an integral component of the side across all formats, registering 78 first-class wickets at 36.68 apiece, while amassing 1,178 runs at an average of 23.56.
He also developed a reputation as both an effectual strike bowler and a big-hitter at the death in T20 cricket, taking 43 wickets at 26.76 and scoring 567 runs striking at just under 150.
Leicestershire’s director of cricket, Claude Henderson, said: “We’re delighted to share the fantastic news that Ben is coming back to Leicestershire.
“He brings an x-factor with both bat and ball in all three formats, which makes our squad really exciting. He’s the final jigsaw piece in our puzzle.”