Shaun Udal has stood down from the Middlesex captaincy following his team's poor start to the season and will be replaced by Adam Gilchrist for the next six games, after Gilchrist requested to extend the terms of his contract and play in Middlesex's away games.

Udal, 41, had taken over the captaincy in September 2008 but struggled last year, with Middlesex finishing second from bottom in the second division of the County Championship. Things have not improved this year with Middlesex winning just two out of nine games in the Championship and struggling in the Clydesdale Bank 40.

It's understood that Gilchrist, who was only due to play in home games for Middlesex, asked Angus Fraser, managing director of cricket at Middlesex, to play in more fixtures, which encouraged the club to hand him the captaincy while he was with the side. Neil Dexter will take over the captaincy after Gilchrist leaves, with his first game in charge being the Friends Provident t20 match away against Glamorgan on June 26.

"Captaining Middlesex has been a huge honour for me," said Udal. "There can be few better feelings than leading a team out at Lord's and I have taken great pride in doing that over the course of the past three seasons.

"Letting go of something like that is extremely difficult but Angus Fraser and I have agreed that this is the best way forward for the club. I would like to continue playing for Middlesex and will give my full support to both Adam Gilchrist and Neil Dexter."

Udal had retired from first-class cricket at the end of the 2007 season but in December of that year, aged 38, Middlesex persuaded him out of retirement with a two-year contract. Though he performed well with the ball last season, snaring 37 Championship wickets at 27.21, he has been less effective so far this year with 14 wickets at 44.14 from eight games.

"Shaun cares passionately about how Middlesex performs and has worked extremely hard to turn the team in to a winning outfit but the indifferent cricket we continue to play has worn him down," said Fraser. "Neil was identified as a worthy successor to Udal earlier in the season and he will captain the club once Adam Gilchrist leaves. Neil is an extremely impressive young man. He is a fine player and is highly respected by everyone at the club."