Alec Stewart confirms retirement
Out with a bang: Alec Stewart during his final innings for England
Alec Stewart has confirmed speculation in the weekend's newspapers by announcing his retirement at the end of the season. With it unlikely that he will play in Surrey's final Championship match starting on Wednesday, his last game was the final Test against South Africa, fittingly at The Oval.
Yesterday, Surrey announced that financial contraints meant that Stewart would not be offered another contract, and in The News of the World he ended suggestions that he would look to extend his career at another county. "I'm not that sentimental," he explained. "I said my goodbyes to the Oval crowd during the South Africa Test and that couldn't have gone better. If Surrey had still been in the hunt for the Championship, it would have been different. I've always striven to get to the top, ie England. Once that has gone, why are you playing?"
In a press release today Stewart said that it had been a "fantastic privilege" playing for Surrey. "I have been lucky enough to play with some great players and particularly to be a part of the huge success the Club has achieved over the last eight years. I look forward to contributing to Surrey's continued success both on and off the pitch in years to come."
Keith Medlycott, Surrey's first-team coach, had earlier confirmed that Stewart - and Ian Ward - had been released because of a need to cut outgoings. "We are part of a bigger industry and that is the business itself and we have to deal with what is put in front of us. We have to abide by certain rules and as much as we've tried to bend those and eke out extra money we weren't able to do that. It's an unfortunate scenario but players' worth in recent years has gone up in astronomical amounts but income has not followed suit."
Stewart made his debut for Surrey in 1981 and scored 26,165 runs at an average of 40.06 in 447 first-class matches.