Cricket

Surrey Stars Eager To Help Alec Stewart Sign Off With More Silverware

England batter Ollie Pope missed the meeting at Kia Oval where Stewart, in typically modest fashion, told the group of his decision briefly before he turned the focus on trying to produce another successful campaign

Photo: Mike Egerton/PA
Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart will leave his role at the end of 2024. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA
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Surrey are determined to give departing director of cricket Alec Stewart a successful send-off.

It was announced last week that Stewart would step down from his role at the end of 2024 after a decade in the post.

Stewart, 60, has overseen the development of several England internationals, alongside guiding Surrey to three County Championship titles, and several key figures in the team are eager to help him sign off with more silverware.

Red-ball captain Rory Burns said: “It can be an emotional driver if that is the way you are inclined.

“The way we try to operate, we look at what our process is and what we want to do day to day. It would be nice to send the gaffer out with another Championship win, but we’ve got a lot of hard work to do before that.”

England batter Ollie Pope missed the meeting at Kia Oval where Stewart, in typically modest fashion, told the group of his decision briefly before he turned the focus on trying to produce another successful campaign.

Former England wicketkeeper Stewart, who has helped care for his wife through her cancer battle since 2013, played a key role in Pope’s journey from Surrey academy graduate to vice-captain of the Test team.

“I sadly missed a meeting when he announced it to the boys, but I had a phone call with him straight after and, yeah, I felt gutted,” Pope admitted.

“I can’t imagine a club where you don’t see Stewie in every morning. I think he’s in at 6 am every day on the rowing machine or on the treadmill or doing some weights, but that’s because he loves the club and loves being here.

“And he’s also ridiculous at his job as well. The way he sort of makes you feel like you’ve got a personal relationship, but he’s also got the job to give you your contracts or release you.

“I’ve got a great picture of him giving me my Surrey under-eight player-of-the-year award, which is one I’ll always have. He presented me with my England cap, again the video and the pics of that are seriously special.

“Every player in the club and every member of the coaching staff feels like they’ve just got so much to owe him because whether he sees the talent in you or sees the good person in you, he sort of brings it out.

“So he’s going to be a massive, massive loss for the club. It’s going to be sad when he leaves, but hopefully, we can win a couple of trophies for him this year to give him a good send-off.”

Stewart brought Ben Foakes to the club from Essex in 2015.

Foakes added: “I was trying to think the other day if there is anyone that has done more for English cricket after their playing career and I couldn’t think of anyone.

“He is going to obviously be massively missed.

“It will be a huge blow for us, but he has earned his break and to switch off a bit.

“The amount he has given to the group and the club as a whole, it would be the icing on the cake and good to send him off with one (trophy).”

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