Cricket: Alleyne becomes captain

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The Independent Online
Mark Alleyne was yesterday appointed as Gloucestershire's new captain after talks with the England wicketkeeper, Jack Russell, broke down. Alleyne takes over from Courtney Walsh, who has Test commitments with the West Indies until the middle of the summer.

Gloucestershire's senior management met with Russell over two days before reaching a stalemate. Their cricket secretary, Philip August, said yesterday: "Jack wanted certain conditions. These included a management role for three years and to be captain for three years as well.

"We were happy with the management condition but our constitution says that we can only appoint a captain for one season at a time. We told Jack about this but he wanted all the conditions met, which we could not do."

Now Alleyne has been given the chance of getting Gloucestershire back on track after a miserable 1996. "I'm not nervous about it because I was vice-captain to Jack in 1995 and I'm just looking forward to the job," the all-rounder said. "It is a great honour." Alleyne joined Gloucestershire in 1986 from the Harringey cricket school.

The England team will have major new sponsors from next winter as a replacement for Tetley Bitter. The English Cricket Board yesterday confirmed a new deal will be announced at a press conference at Lord's next Wednesday.

Reports have suggested that the telephone company Vodaphone are favourites to take over in a multi-million pound deal when Tetley's involvement ends after the summer Ashes series with Australia. Tetley announced in the winter they would be withdrawing their support after five years, with poor performances by England understood to be one of the reasons.