County news April 18, 2012

Dexter stands down as Middlesex captain

ESPNcricinfo staff

Middlesex have announced that Neil Dexter will temporarily step down as captain of the Championship side to concentrate on regaining form with the bat. He will be replaced by Chris Rogers, though Dexter will continue to lead Middlesex in one-day cricket and the situation will be "kept under regular review", the club have said.

Middlesex have won one and lost one after their first two games back in Division One of the Championship. Dexter, who led the team to promotion from Division Two last season, has scored 15 runs in four innings, though he did take three wickets as his side secured a dramatic victory over London rivals Surrey in their second match.

It is understood that South Africa-born Dexter did not have much opportunity for pre-season net practice after the death of his brother around Christmas time led to an extended return home, and has asked for his responsibilities to be reduced in the short term.

Angus Fraser, Middlesex's director of cricket, said: "Once again I applaud Neil for his selfless and honest behaviour. I selected Neil as Middlesex CCC captain in 2010 because of the standards and values he holds, and he never lets you down. Neil's captaincy during the thrilling three-run victory over Surrey was outstanding. It played a major role in turning potential sorrow in to delight.

"He is, however, not happy with his current form with the bat and believes extra time spent concentrating on this part of his game will help return him to his best quickest, which is what we all want. Once Neil's form returns, as it inevitably will, and he is happy with where he is at the captaincy will return to him."

A batting allrounder who has also played for Kent and Essex, Dexter was appointed Middlesex's captain after the resignation of Shaun Udal in June 2010. He scored 907 Championship runs at 47.73 that season, but in 2011 he managed just 470 at 26.11 as Middlesex secured the Division Two title.

Middlesex's next Championship fixture, against Durham at Lord's, is due to start tomorrow, with Dexter expected to retain his place in the middle order. Rogers, who played one Test for Australia in 2008, was previously captain at Derbyshire before moving to Middlesex as their overseas player for the start of the 2011 season.

Edited by Alan Gardner

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on April 19, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    I think that you will find that, as of August 1st, they had twice taken 3 batting points and once 5. On no other occasion had they passed 300 in the first innings.

  • Mark on April 19, 2012, 9:15 GMT

    Cricketsoracle, I think that you will find that the batting suddenly and gloriously clicked in August, which is the basis of that stat. Up until August 1st they had only taken more than 3 batting points once (against Surrey). Their promotion rivals Northants imploded spectacularly at that point and Gloucs hardly passed 250 all season, but bowled sides out cheaply, which sustained their challenge.

  • Chris on April 19, 2012, 8:52 GMT

    A glance back at last season's Division 2 table would see that Middlesex secured more batting bonus points last season than any other county in either Division - the consistent runs scored throughout the side being the bedrock of the county's success. Yes, like every side they had the occasional wobble but, as opposed to previous years, they showed resilience and courage. Of course, Finn's presence is a massive bonus but in two games thus far, the bowling unit has shown consistency and character. They might not be world beaters, but they are good enough at this level. As Warwickshire proved last year, you don't need to have superstar bowlers to compete at this level. The lack of genuine spin could however be an issue but I think Middlesex will surprise a few this summer.

  • Mark on April 19, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    Harvey, you are not the only one to have noticed that. However, Middlesex's promotion was largely based on Steve Finn's bowling (it was late season before they finally won a match when he was not in the side) and if you take him out on England duty, which is likely to happen this summer, the attack does not look anything like so good. The lack of an attacking spinner was made painfully obvious in he Somerset match and is a major weakness. Add to that the batting struggles, which have gone on for season after season and you can understand the concerns. One of the comments last season in the press box was "if Middlesex are collapsing constantly in Division 2, what will it be like next season in Division 1?" Middlesex are good enough to survive if they play as well as they can, but little more. Surrey? We'll see. But they will have to show a little more spirit than they showed at Lords on Sunday to achieve anything.

  • Harvey on April 18, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    Neil is a very fine player who I rate highly, and I'm certain he'll be back. His captaincy last season played a big role in Middlesex winning the Division 2 title last season, although his batting form did seem to suffer. Chris Rogers ought to be a very able replacement, and I remain convinced that Middlesex can hold their own in this division in 2012. Isn't it rather odd that everyone seems to think that the Division 2 champions will struggle, while the team that only just scraped promotion in 2nd place due to Northants' disastrous finish to the season is being talked about by some journalists as title contenders?

  • Dummy4 on April 18, 2012, 15:51 GMT

    Doesn't happen often enough in my opinion. As a captain its hard to focus on you're game and the teams performance. Not everyone can do both at the same time on the same level particularly under pressure when it comes to form with the bat. Good on the lad for facing it head on and confiding with the staff and management before they announced it.

  • Cricinfouser on April 18, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    So he regains his form and returns to the captaincy. What does he do next time he has a couple of bad games with the bat? Ridiculous state of affairs.

  • Julian on April 18, 2012, 12:38 GMT

    Probabaly a sensible decision, and shows great maturity and pragmatism.

  • Michael on April 18, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    Re. Gus Fraser's reaction; this is not the first time a resignation by a cricketing Dexter appointed to a high-profile post at Lord's has been "applauded" ...

  • Mark on April 18, 2012, 12:14 GMT

    A real shame for Neil Dexter, but this has been rumbing on for a long time now. I don't think though that anyone expeced to happen so soon. He's a super guy and his captaincy against Surrey was brilliant on the final morning. It looks like he will miss tomorrow's game, which may be a blessing in disguise if the pitch is difficult. He has to try to come back stronger from this.

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