Ben Cox: Leicestershire sign long-serving Worcestershire wicketkeeper

Leicestershire have signed long-serving Worcestershire wicketkeeper Ben Cox for the 2024 season on a three-year deal.

Cox will first be loaned to the Foxes for their final four County Championship games of this season.

The 31-year-old homegrown player is currently in his benefit year at New Road, having been a Pears regular since making his debut as a 17-year-old schoolboy in September 2009.

He has been in Worcestershire's T20 Blast and One-Day Cup sides in 2023.

But he has played just two Championship matches since taking a break from the game in May 2022 - and was offered only a new white-ball contract by the Pears.

Since then, Gareth Roderick has become the club's preferred first-choice keeper - and Cox's existing contract expires at the end of the summer.

Worcestershire are currently second in Division Two of the Championship at the head of a congested pack of clubs that also includes Leicestershire, who are 23 points behind but with a game in hand.

Cox, who is the Foxes' second signing for the run-in following Umar Amin, should make his debut for the One-Day Cup finalists at home to Gloucestershire on Sunday in a rematch from Tuesday's semi-final victory at Grace Road.

"Leaving Worcestershire is a bittersweet moment for me, " said Cox. "This club has been my cricketing home for 22 years, and I am immensely grateful for the opportunities, experiences, successes and memories that I've had here.

"I'm excited for the new challenge ahead and in particular getting back to playing all three formats, but Worcestershire will always hold a special place in my heart."

Following the departures of Moeen Ali and Ed Barnard to Warwickshire at the end of last season, Cox is the fifth Pears player to announce his exit for 2024 - all to the East Midlands.

England T20 international Pat Brown has signed for Derbyshire, while fellow pacemen Josh Tongue and Dillion Pennington are joining Nottinghamshire, who have also recruited middle-order bat Jack Haynes.

But Worcestershire have made three new signings for 2024 - Lancashire batter Rob Jones and all-rounders Ethan Brookes and Tom Taylor.

Ben Cox's time with Worcestershire

Cox's time with Worcestershire goes right back to his schooldays.

He was still at Bromsgrove School when, following an injury to Steven Davies in September 2009, his main mentor Steve Rhodes called him up to make his debut against Somerset at Taunton at the age of 17 years and 220 days.

After scoring a half-century in his maiden first-class innings, he has since gone on to amass 5,361 first-class runs in 141 matches.

In total, he has hit four centuries and 30 fifties, as well as taking 400 catches and 16 stumpings, not to mention 1,624 runs in 81 List A matches.

He also scored a further 2,359 runs in 156 T20 games, including the best day of his career in 2018 when Worcestershire reached Finals Day in 2018.

Cox responded to being dropped from the Pears' Championship team the week before by producing man of the match performances in both the semi-final and the final, amassing more than 100 runs in the day as the club won the trophy for the first time.

He was also part of the side that made it back to the final in 2019 - and has three times been a member of promotion-winning teams in the Championship, in 2010, 2014 and 2017.

But Cox missed out on the chance of an international call, as England had a string of top keepers ahead of him in Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler and Ben Foakes.