Australia news October 29, 2012

North quits as Western Australia's captain

ESPNcricinfo staff

Marcus North has stood down as captain of Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers, citing his own struggle for form as a key reason for his decision. The move also comes after questions have been raised over the culture in Western Australian cricket following a lack of discipline in South Africa this month, where a number of Perth Scorchers players found themselves in trouble after a big night out on the town in the lead-up to a must-win Champions League Twenty20 match.

The Test batsman Michael Hussey will lead the Warriors in their Sheffield Shield match against Victoria at the MCG, starting on Thursday, while a decision is made on who will become the state's full-time captain. Reports have also emerged from Perth that the former Test batsman Shaun Marsh will be sent back to club cricket to regain his lost form, although that has not been confirmed by Western Australia.

North, 33, has been in charge of Western Australia for six years, during which time they have failed to win a title in any format, and he said the time was right to give up the job. He is keen to play on as a batsman but he will need to find some runs quickly, after scoring 12, 11, 0 and 0 in the first two Sheffield Shield matches of the season, and his last Shield hundred came in October last year.

"I have thought long and hard about this decision but I feel now is the right time for Western Australian cricket to have a fresh voice and a new leader to take the Warriors and Scorchers forward," North said. "My form in the past two and a half years since playing Test cricket has not been to the high standard I place on myself.

"I want to enjoy my cricket without the pressure of captaincy and strive to be the best cricketer that I can be both personally and for the team. I have always said that a captain should be the player who is picked first and someone who has no concern about their place in the side.

"I have been averaging 10 below my career first-class average for the past two seasons and the Warriors do not need a skipper who is struggling for form and finding it hard to justify their place in the side. In the T20 space, there have been times where I have felt the balance of the Scorchers has been compromised by my position in the team and some very good players have had to miss out, such as Paul Collingwood at Champions League.

"This is my sixth year as state captain and I have given it a really good shot, but the reality is we have played in only two T20 finals in that time so I have not enjoyed the success everyone associated with WA cricket would have hoped for."

Western Australia are yet to win a Shield match this season and sit on the bottom of the table. The last time they won a domestic title was in the 2003-04 one-day competition and their last Shield triumph came in 1998-99.