Cricket: Atherton quit over batting

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MIKE ATHERTON's chronic lack of batting form was the main reason behind his decision to resign as England captain.

The England coach, David Lloyd, yesterday revealed why Atherton quit after losing the final Test, and with it the series 3-1. "Over a fairly lengthy period now he has been short of runs, and he'd taken enough," he said.

Lloyd believes it would be "right and proper" for Atherton to be consulted on his successor. Alec Stewart is the favourite, ahead of Nasser Hussain, Adam Hollioake and Mark Ramprakash. "I expect I will also be asked for an opinion, and if I am I will give it," added Lloyd.

Lloyd was too upset on Tuesday night to speak about either the Test defeat or Atherton's resignation. He said yesterday: "There were so many different emotions. When Hussain and Thorpe were together we were in control. But then there was one moment of madness with the run-out and suddenly one wicket brought seven. As for Mike, when he was in charge and we were bowling sides out he was as good a captain as anyone. But he never had bowlers at either end with more than 300 Test wickets to their name and that has got to be a big factor in his record."