Leicestershire cricket bosses insist that legal reasons prevent them from revealing why Cumbrian head coach Paul Nixon has been stood down.

The former England wicketkeeper has been placed on gardening leave by the club.

The move comes after nearly six years at the helm at Grace Road for Nixon, who was also a star player for the county.

The news has shocked supporters given Nixon’s long-respected status at Leicestershire, who are third in Division Two of the county championship.

Leics chairman John Thorpe responded to recent speculation with a statement confirming Nixon, from Langwathby, was on leave.

“We recognise that this news may have come as a surprise to our fans and whilst we are not able to provide further details at this stage, we will keep you updated when we are legally able to do so,” he added.

Chief executive Sean Jarvis, speaking to BBC Radio Leicester, added: “A lot of information has come to my attention over the past two months and as chief executive of this club, I'll be investigating comments, allegations, all those sorts of things that have gone on.

"That's what I'm here to do and I've always said that, as chief exec, I will protect and develop Leicestershire County Cricket Club. That is my number one role and that's what I'll continue to do and I've done since day one."

Nixon’s situation came after the departure of three key players amid further unsettling times at Grace Road, with Jarvis going on to deny that Leics were a “club in crisis”.

The 52-year-old Cumbrian has so far not commented on the situation.