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Alec Stewart: Outgoing Surrey director of cricket irreplaceable, says head coach Gareth Batty

Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart and head coach Gareth Batty hold the 2023 County Championship trophy
Surrey are aiming to win a third County Championship in a row, in Alec Stewart's final season as director of cricket

Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart will be irreplaceable when he leaves the club, says head coach Gareth Batty.

The ex-England captain announced last week that he will stand down after 11 years at the end of the season.

Surrey are chasing a third County Championship title in a row this season and have won the competition three times in Stewart's tenure.

Stewart scored 40,936 runs, including 67 centuries, in 951 matches for Surrey in a 22-year playing career.

"He's been the best director of cricket, just like he was the best player when he played," Batty told BBC Radio London.

"He's driven by excellence and he's done that again in a role off the field - we can't replace that."

Surrey's squad is largely the same as last season, with batter Dan Lawrence the only addition from Essex.

Former England spinner Batty said the mentality at Surrey "has to be about winning things" as they aim for a third title in a row.

"We've had a conversation about winning the County Championship, winning the 50-over [championship], winning the T20 Blast, it then comes back to the process about how we're going to do that.

"Knowing Alec isn't going to be around in a full-time capacity next year - for those that are driven by the emotional side it's a lovely add-on, for those who aren't it doesn't matter, it's still going to be win - this group is driven for success."

Surrey begin their defence of the County Championship away to Lancashire at Old Trafford on Friday, 5 April.