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The England and Wales Cricket Board has reacted with "dismay" at the decision of Kent to sign the Australian seam bowler Stuart Clark for the six weeks leading up to this summer's Ashes series. Clark, whose 26 wickets at 17 apiece were a huge contributing factor in Australia's 5–0 whitewash of England two winters ago, has been out of the game for some months with an elbow injury that needed surgery and has yet to play competitively since. His signing follows that by Middlesex of the young Australian batting sensation Phillip Hughes, who has no experience of English conditions but will benefit accordingly.

Yesterday Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, was scathing of Kent's self-interest. "The decision of Kent to sign Stuart Clark so that he can continue his rehabilitation after injury to enable him to be fit for the Ashes series has been met with dismay throughout the game," he said. "Of course it is up to Kent which players they sign but it is an incredibly busy and important year for cricket in England and we wish to give the team every chance of regaining the Ashes.

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