Worcestershire August 13, 2004

Smith resigns captaincy in mid-match

Ben Smith: mid-match resignation © Getty Images

In a move thought to be unprecedented in county cricket, Worcestershire's Ben Smith has resigned the county captaincy in the middle of a match. Smith, 32, announced his resignation before the start of play on the third day of Worcestershire's match against Northamptonshire at New Road.

Smith, who moved to Worcester from Leicestershire in 2002, and assumed the captaincy last year, said: "I've come to this decision because I want to concentrate on my own form and help Worcestershire to be successful for the rest of the season." Smith hasn't exactly been in bad form this year - he averaged 58.85 in the Championship before this game, while under his guidance Worcestershire are reasonably placed at fifth in the first division.

Tom Moody, Worcestershire's coach, denied that any pressure had been brought to bear on Smith, although he did admit that the situation had been brewing up for a while. He pooh-poohed any suggestions of dressing-room unrest, and it seems as if Smith had simply had enough. Moody defended the announcement of the departure in mid-match, saying that once the decision had been made there was no point in waiting for two days.

Steven Rhodes, Worcestershire's veteran wicketkeeper, has taken over as captain for the remainder of the Northants match, but isn't a long-term candidate as he has already said that this is to be his final season. Worcestershire will announce their new captain shortly: the names of Vikram Solanki and Gareth Batty were being whispered in the stands at New Road today.