Medlycott quits Surrey for fresh challenges

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The Independent Online

Keith Medlycott, the Surrey manager, last night left the club after seven hugely successful seasons in which the county has won eight trophies.

It was Medlycott's decision and the reasons he gave were quite straightforward. The captain, Adam Hollioake, had announced his resignation at the beginning of October and last night Medlycott said: "Following Adam's decision to stand down as captain I feel the time is right for me to pursue other opportunities and fresh challenges. I believe I have taken Surrey as far as I can." Medlycott had been appointed cricket manager in 1998, having spent a season as assistant to the Australian Dave Gilbert.

In that period (1997-2003), Surrey won back-to-back County Championships in 1999 and 2000, lifting the title for a third time in four seasons in 2002.

But in 2003 the wheels started to come off. A string of defeats late in the campaign left them out of the money in third place. They won the National League First Division title and the inaugural Twenty20 Cup, but that was never enough.

When Jonathan Batty was appointed as Hollioake's successor last month there were rumours of dissension in the dressing-room. Senior players were said to be unhappy with Batty's appointment, which was Medlycott's choice. It was felt that three roles was too much for a rookie captain, since he would be opening the batting, then keeping wicket.

Medlycott would have felt that perhaps he had lost the support of the senior players so he decided to end his second sojourn at The Oval - his first was as a player between 1984 and 1992.

The county is likely to stay loyal to Alan Butcher as specialist batting coach. They have just taken on Geoff Arnold as specialist bowling coach, so the chances are that someone, possibly from overseas, will be brought in as a director of cricket, with no immediate hands-on role with the first XI. Surrey are making the search for a successor a priority