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Middlesex have parted ways with Stuart Law, despite the Australian having a year left on his contract as the club's head coach. Law took charge in 2019 but struggled to lift Middlesex's fortunes, twice finishing in the bottom third of the Championship.
Angus Fraser, Middlesex's long-serving director of cricket, was moved sideways during the summer, with Law reporting directly to Andrew Cornish, the interim chief executive who has now been appointed full time.
Following a review of the club's performances, Cornish said that "on-field performances have not been up to the standards we require". Alan Coleman, Middlesex's assistant coach, will take charge of the squad when they return for training next month, while the club starts the search for Law's successor.
Middlesex were County Champions in 2016 but suffered relegation the following summer and have struggled to regain ground despite a strong squad. They finished eighth in the second tier in Law's first season in charge, and although there some encouraging performances in the Bob Willis Trophy in 2020, they finished bottom of their Championship conference this summer, leaving them to fight for scraps in Division Three.
There has been precious little success in the white-ball formats either, with a quarter-final spot in the 2019 Vitality Blast their best performance under Law. This year, Middlesex finished second-bottom in both the Blast and Royal London Cup.
A number of the players who helped win the Championship have left the club in recent seasons - the likes of Dawid Malan, Nick Gubbins and Steven Finn - with Middlesex focusing on bringing through academy talent. Ethan Bamber, Blake Cullen, Robbie White, Martin Andersson and Luke Hollman all made good impressions in 2021, without that translating to team success.
"We would like to thank Stuart for his efforts across three seasons as head coach of Middlesex," Cornish said. "His passion and dedication to the role have and never will be questioned. It is always sad when committed people leave the club and things do not work out as all parties would have hoped, and Stuart leaves Middlesex with our thanks and best wishes.
"Our on-field performances have not been up to the standards we require. The review and the outcomes resulting from it have not been taken lightly, and the Cricket Committee will be actively involved in the search for a replacement head coach.
"I give my assurance to all members and supporters that we have ambitions to be a club that is competitive in all competitions, and with the talented young homegrown side that has been developed here at Middlesex, I have no doubts that this can be achieved."