Durham's captain, Will Smith, has tendered his resignation in the wake of his team's innings-and-62-run defeat against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, and will be replaced by the 27-year-old former England wicketkeeper, Phil Mustard, with immediate effect.
Smith succeeded Dale Benkenstein at the end of Durham's Championship-winning 2008 season and managed to guide the team to their second title in a row the following summer. However, the 2010 campaign has not gone to plan so far, with the Nottinghamshire defeat being their first in first-class cricket for 21 matches, and Smith's own form has suffered, with 114 runs in seven innings at 16.28 to date.
"I am disappointed that things have not worked out as captain," said Smith in a club statement. "I will remain fully committed to ensuring that the club continue to prosper under Phil's guidance. He will add great spirit and character to the role and it is fitting that a North East lad is entrusted with it."
"I'm honoured to have been offered the role of captain at the club where I came up through the Academy and have spent the whole of my professional career," said Mustard. "I'm confident that with the help and support of my senior, experienced, team mates we'll go from strength to strength."
Durham's chairman, Clive Leach, said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Will Smith for his hard work and success in the past season. I wish him well in his future career with Durham CCC. Appointing Phil was an easy task, he is totally committed to the Durham cause and I'm sure that with the support of the dressing room will take us forward over the coming months."
Head coach, Geoff Cook, added: "I'm delighted that Phil has accepted the role. This adjustment is an opportune time for us to kick start our season while at the same time giving Phil the chance to move his career up to the next stage."