Alec Stewart: Ex-England captain to leave Surrey director of cricket role at end of 2024

Former England wicketkeeper Alec Stewart is to leave his role as Surrey director of cricket at the end of 2024.

The 60-year-old is in his 11th year in the role and the club have won the County Championship three times in that period, including last summer.

Stewart also won six trophies in 23 years as a Surrey player, including three Championship titles.

"Without a doubt, this has been the toughest decision of my working career," he told the club website.

"Since November 2013, I have given this job my total commitment and it has been an honour and a privilege to be a part of the greatest cricket club in the world.

"However, the job is not one that you can just leave at the ground, as it demands 24/7 attention.

"As people may know, my wife has been battling cancer since 2013 and I want to give her, and my family, more of my time over the coming years than this job allows."

Stewart, the son of former Surrey and England player and coach Micky Stewart, now 91, appeared in 133 Tests and 170 one-day internationals during his playing career.

A stylish bat as well as an accomplished keeper, he captained the national team in 15 Tests and scored 26,165 first-class runs at an average of 40.06, including 48 centuries.

Despite his decision to step down, he said: "From now until my last working day, I guarantee that my commitment to the job and to the club will not diminish one bit and I am fully focused on helping the squad to achieve more success."

And he added that he would be open to considering "other opportunities around the game that work for me and my family".

Surrey were relegated to Division Two of the Championship in 2013 but gained promotion two years later, and won their first title of Stewart's tenure in 2018, finishing 46 points clear of runners-up Somerset.

They lifted the trophy again in 2022, and last summer became the first back-to-back winners since Yorkshire in 2015 - making it Surrey's 21st outright title, with one other shared.

Alec Stewart and Rory Burns
Stewart congratulates captain Rory Burns after Surrey clinch the 2023 Championship title

The club have been less successful in white-ball cricket, losing to Northants Steelbacks and Notts Outlaws in the 2013 and 2020 T20 Blast finals.

They were also beaten in three successive One-Day Cup finals from 2015 to 2017.

"I am incredibly proud of what has been achieved over the last 11 years, winning trophies as well as continuing to produce our own players through the talent pathway and providing players for England," Stewart added.

"Supporting young talent to develop into top-quality players is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable parts of the job."

Surrey chief executive Steve Elworthy paid tribute to Stewart's achievements at The Oval.

"Alec has been one of the greatest servants this club has ever seen and leaves an extraordinary legacy," he said.

"Alec's professionalism, work ethic and commitment to the club has driven success in his playing days and even more so as director of cricket. The club is where it is today because of his passion and his dedication."

Club chairman Oli Slipper added: "He took over with the team in a difficult position and has built a club in his own image that is hard-working, dedicated and humble. The values and the philosophy that he has created are the foundation of the success that the team has seen.

"Whilst he is stepping down from his role at the club, we do not want to lose his knowledge of the game and I have no doubt that his successor will always have a helpful voice to call upon if needed."

'An incredible job' - analysis

Mark Church, Surrey commentator for BBC Radio London:

The Stewart name is absolutely synonymous with Surrey.

In every facet of what he's done at Surrey, as a player, captain and director of cricket, he's done an incredible job.

Having played so well for England and Surrey, the brilliant thing about Alec is he has adapted to the changes of cricket amazingly; the sport has changed so much since he was a player and in the time he's been working in the director role.

He's Alec Stewart. If he calls a player, they're going to listen. And he is a big draw for bringing in players at Surrey.

He took over at a tough time and in his 11 years they have won three County Championships, including two back-to-back in the last two years.

How perfect would it be if they made it three on the spin in his final year as director of cricket?

He has made the announcement this morning for all the right reasons. He wants to spend more time with his family and everyone will understand that.

When they go out to replace him, whoever comes in will have massive boots to fill.

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