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Alec Stewart to step down from Surrey role to devote more time to wife battling cancer

Lynn Stewart and Alec Stewart
Alec Stewart has taken time away from Surrey in recent years to care for his wife Lynn (left) - Can Nguyen/Shutterstock

Three-time County Championship-winning director of cricket Alec Stewart will step down from his role with Surrey at the end of 2024, after 11 years in charge.

Stewart, who turns 61 next month, has taken time away from Surrey in recent years to care for his wife Lynn, who has been battling cancer throughout his time as director of cricket.

He has now decided to step away permanently to spend more time with his family, although insists he is not retiring from all involvement in the game.

Stewart is steeped in Surrey, the county his father Micky represented with distinction between 1954 and 1972. Stewart junior played for the county between 1981 and 2003, when he retired as England’s most-capped Test cricketer with 133 appearances. He also captained England from 1998 to 1999.

He returned to Surrey in 2013 as director of cricket with the club at a low ebb, around a year on from the death of the promising young batsman Tom Maynard, a tragic incident that laid bare some cultural shortcomings at the club.

Stewart got the club back on the right path and under his leadership they won the County Championship in 2018, 2022 and 2023, matching his tally as a player (when he won it in 1999, 2000 and 2002). Surrey’s academy has also produced a steady flow of England internationals in Stewart’s time in charge.

Alec Stewart at the Oval
Stewart has led Surrey to three County Championship titles in 11 years - Julian Simmonds for the Telegraph

“Without a doubt, this has been the toughest decision of my working career, but after careful consideration I will be stepping down from my role as director of cricket at the end of this calendar year,” said Stewart. “The main reason for informing the club at this point in time is to give them enough notice to find a suitable replacement.

“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.

“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.

“I will always be available to support the club in any way that I can and would also consider other opportunities in and around the game that work for me and the family.

“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.”

The Surrey chief executive Steve Elworthy paid tribute to Stewart, saying “we cannot overstate his impact” on the club.

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

Stewart has had opportunities to leave Surrey for roles with England in recent years – including head coach in 2019 and director of cricket or selector in 2022 – but turned them down to remain with the county and be closer to his family.

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