Cricket: Surrey in a stew over Stewart

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The Independent Online
THE clouds massing over The Oval showed few signs of scudding past yesterday as Alec Stewart declined an offer to continue as Surrey captain.

The England vice-captain was angered by the recent sacking of the county's first-team coach, Geoff Arnold, and despite the hiring this week of a director of cricket, Mike Edwards, Stewart has clearly not been placated. Indeed, he has demanded a greater say in cricketing matters, including the appointment of Arnold's successor. 'I want to captain Surrey,' Stewart insisted upon emerging from a two-hour meeting at The Oval. 'But I'm not going to accept the job until I know what the position of the club is.'

Glyn Woodman, the club's chief executive, declared himself unconcerned by Stewart's stalling - 'Alec has taken a long time in the past to accept the captaincy' - while acknowledging that the current turbulence had been precipitated by a petition from disgruntled members. Describing the county as 'under-achievers' - for all the abundance of talent, only two one-day trophies have been won since the club's last Championship in 1971 - the 50-plus petitioners called for Arnold's head together with that of the second XI coach, Grahame Clinton. A working party has been set up to examine the running of the club, suggesting that Arnold Long's seat as chairman of the cricket sub-committee may not be that secure.