Academy director to return to Australia December 10, 2004

Rod Marsh steps down

Cricinfo staff

Rod Marsh: steps down after four years at the ECB's academy © Getty Images

Rod Marsh has stepped down from his role as the director of the England and Wales Cricket Board's academy after four years in the role.

He has decided not to renew his contract which will end in September next year. His tenure as England selector will also end at the same time, although he will continue in this post in the meantime.

Marsh, 57, plans to return to his native Australia to spend time with his new grandchildren. He said he was interested in continuing to work in cricket, but it is likely that this will take the form of a part-time role, rather than on a full-time basis. Marsh, who is also an England selector at the moment, helped to set up the National Academy system and oversaw the establishment of the academy at Loughborough.

"I have enjoyed every moment of my time at the ECB," said Marsh. "When I took the position in October 2001 I made the statement that people had to be patient about the future of English cricket. Miracles don't happen overnight. The England team is now in a position whereby it can command respect from all opposition, and I would expect that position to remain if not improve over the next few years."

Half of the 14-man England Test squad which is currently touring South Africa are products of the National Academy. Andrew Flintoff and Stephen Harmison are among the players to have benefited from the academy system.

"Rod has been fantastic for the ECB, and cricket in England and Wales has benefited from him enormously," said Hugh Morris, the ECB's performance director and their acting chief executive. "His previous experience in Australia and India has been invaluable and he has worked hard to develop crucial links with all the county coaches."

Morris confirmed that the search for a successor for Marsh will begin some time in the new year.