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Wednesday, March 25, 1998 Published at 15:26 GMT



Sport: Cricket

Atherton resigns
image: [ Atherton after he scored 185 not out against South Africa ]
Atherton after he scored 185 not out against South Africa

Mike Atherton has stepped down as England's captain after seeing his team crash to a 3-1 series loss against the West Indies and his own batting averages for the six Tests tumble.


Michael Atherton says it is time to step down (20')
Atherton took the decision before the start of play in the final day at Antigua but only told his teammates after they had finally lost the match.

The search is now on for his successor with Adam Hollioake, vice-captain Nasser Hussain and Alec Stewart all being tipped for one of the hardest jobs in sport.

Speaking minutes after Brian Lara received the Wisden Cricket trophy for his side's innings and 52 runs win over England, Atherton said: "A combination of our failure to win this series and my own form which has been well below my previous standards has led me to believe it is time for someone else to do the job.


[ image: Atherton's tour average was only 19.5 runs]
Atherton's tour average was only 19.5 runs
"I decided to step down as England captain after much consideration and after discussions with chairman of selectors David Graveney.

"The captaincy has never been a burden to me and I have enjoyed working with the players as captain."

Atherton led England for a record 52 Tests, passing Peter May's 41-Test mark against Australia at Lords last summer.

He won 13 Tests, lost 19 and drew 20 after he took over from Graham Gooch in July 1993.

But Atherton added that he will remain in the squad for the one-day matches and intended to fight for his place as a Test batsman.

Chairman of selectors David Graveney said: "It has been a privilege to work with Mike, first as a selector and then as chairman.

"He has shown great courage in undertaking an immense job.

"The ultimate judgement of a leader is the respect his fellow players have for him. That respect for Mike among the players has been total."
 





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