Decision follows double relegation September 27, 2006

Hutton quits as Middlesex captain

Cricinfo staff

Ben Hutton: wants to 'rediscover some form and enjoyment for the game' © Martin Williamson
Ben Hutton has resigned as Middlesex captain after a season in which the county were relegated from the top flight of both the Championship and Pro40. He also had a poor season with the bat, making only 459 runs in 10 Championship matches and missing a number of games after coming down with shingles.

"Due to a combination of illness and loss of form it has been a difficult year both on and off the field and I believe that it is in mine and the best interest of the club to step down from the captaincy so that I can rediscover some form and enjoyment for the game," he explained. "It is also more important that we get Middlesex performing to the standards we are capable of and I look forward to contributing to that without the weight of the captaincy on my shoulders.

"I have not taken this decision lightly. It is a huge honour to have captained the club and whoever takes over the role will have my whole support."

Middlesex are hardly spoilt for choice. Their senior player, Owais Shah, had a disastrous few matches in charge in 2004, while other players are either too raw or not guaranteed of their places. Ed Smith might be a candidate although there have been murmurings about how long he will continue to play. Unless a new face is brought in to take on the role, it appears to come down to Ed Joyce or Jamie Dalrymple, although England call-ups may be a factor with both.

John Emburey, Middlesex's director of cricket, commented: "Ben got off to a fantastic start as captain two seasons ago, but his form has suffered and this is a brave and courageous decision. The club need him to find his form and I'm sure he will play a big part in our future".

Emburey's own position is not secure. He was made director of cricket at the start of the season and the cricket committee was effectively disbanded. But performances have been poor and the Middlesex faithful were far from happy by the end of the season.