Gough to be succeeded by McGrath

Yorkshire replace retiring captain Gough by recalling No 2 to leading role
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The Independent Online

Anthony McGrath has been confirmed as the new captain of Yorkshire for the 2009 season. The batting all-rounder has been vice-captain to Darren Gough for the past two years and was seen by many to be the natural successor.

The 33-year-old has done the job before, in 2003, but relinquished the position when his England commitments meant he was unable to give himself fully to the role.

He led Yorkshire to fourth position in the Second Division of the County Championship, just missing out on a promotion spot. Yorkshire also finished second-from-bottom in First Division of the National League and were relegated. However, McGrath has more captaincy experience now – having stepped in for Gough on five occasions this year – and will relish the opportunity to improve on his previous showings.

Despite being offered the job in 2007, he turned it down because he wanted to end his Yorkshire contract. He was persuaded to stay at Headingley following the appointments of Gough and Martyn Moxon.

McGrath admitted when he stepped down in 2003 that he would like to give the captaincy another go – and he made no secret of his desire to lead Yorkshire next season.

He will be a busy man in 2009, after it was also recently decided to award him a benefit for his 14 years of service to the club.

McGrath said: "I realise it is a massive honour to be named as captain of Yorkshire with the size and tradition of the club. It is one of the biggest honours in cricket, in my opinion, and it comes with a lot of responsibility on the field and as a role model.

"Being vice-captain for two years has meant that I've captained the side on a few occasions and I'm just glad the club have given me the chance to take up the role on a full-time basis. It is something I'm delighted with and very much looking forward to."

Jacques Rudolph, who will be the vice-captain, said: "I'm looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead in 2009, where I will give Anthony all the support I can in what I hope will be a very successful season for the county."

The International Cricket Council said yesterday the Champions Trophy would be held from 24 September to 5 October next year after this year's event in Pakistan was postponed because of security concerns. The eight-team tournament would be held in a single city after being cut by five days to 12, including a reserve day for the final, the ICC said. The decision was taken by its executive board which ended a two-day conference at its headquarters in Dubai.

"The ICC board will make a final decision on the location of the event following India's tour to Pakistan in the first part of 2009 so that it can provide certainty to teams, broadcasters, commercial partners and other stakeholders," it added.

The Champions Trophy was postponed after five of eight nations due to take part confirmed they would not send a team because of player safety issues – caused by a series of suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan.

"We are delighted to have slotted the Champions Trophy into the [Future Tours Programme] in 2009 thus maintaining the primacy of ICC events, and we now look forward to staging an outstanding, memorable event next September/October," said the ICC president, David Morgan.

The chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, thanked members for helping to find a slot in the calendar for the event regarded as second in importance only to the one-day World Cup.

"The tournament, with its new format of the top eight teams playing in a short, sharp event, is vitally important for the world game because it allows those members, as well as the developing cricket world, to grow the sport," he said.

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