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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 23:41 GMT 00:41 UK
Alec Stewart: A profile
Alec Stewart
Stewart is still going strong despite his advancing years
Alec James Stewart, born in Surrey in 1963, was coached by his father, Micky, a former Surrey captain and England Test batsman.

The younger Stewart made his debut for Surrey at the age of 18.

Though a prolific run-maker in the County Championship - he scored 1,000 runs a season for five years on the trot - he was passed over for England selection throughout the 1980s.

Stewart's first foray onto the Test stage - which he considers his most nervous moment in international cricket - came in Jamaica in 1990.

The same match saw Nasser Hussain's first England appearance, too.

Cynics commented that Stewart only made the England team because his father was its coach.

Now, 13 years later, Stewart is the most capped England player of all time with 128 appearances and is second on the country's all-time list of Test run-scorers.

In 1991, due to his superior skill as a batsman, Stewart took over as wicket-keeper from Jack Russell, effectively ending the Gloucestershire keeper's Test career.

Alec Stewart playing against Australia in 2002
An Ashes victory has eluded Stewart in seven series against Australia

Since then, Stewart has batted through much of the England order.

Although often criticised as not being a natural opening batsman, his pairing with Michael Atherton became the definitive opening partnership of the 1990s.

Even so, Stewart's 15 Test centuries came when he was batting at number six.

More than 8,200 Test runs - at an average of 40 an innings - combined with a tally at the start of the Lord's Test of 248 catches and 13 stumpings, place him in the highest echelon of international cricketers.

He was also the world's leading Test run-scorer during the 1990s.

But there have also been a number of less-fulfilling moments. After seven series, he has yet to be on an Ashes-winning side.

He was famously fined for dissent against Australia at the Oval in 2001 and in the mid-1990s he broke his finger three times in nine months.

Alec Stewart
Stewart was forced to fight his corner against charges of corruption

But all of this pales into insignificance beside the major crisis of his career.

In November 2000, with the cricket world rocked by allegations of match-fixing, an Indian bookmaker alleged that he had paid Stewart for supplying him with information.

Stewart, who strenuously denied the charge, had to wait a considerable time before the International Cricket Council cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Alec Stewart at the crease is a sight to behold: forever twitching, fidgeting and blinking in an arcane set of rituals and mannerisms familiar to spectators from Manchester to Melbourne.

And, from behind the stumps, Stewart's frequent exhortations to England bowlers - "areas, Gilo", "well bowled, Cat" - are well-known.

If, as some say, genius is an infinite ability to take pains, the secret of Stewart's success is obvious.

"I leave nothing to chance in my preparation, whether it be in the way I train in the nets, the fielding and wicket-keeping sessions I do or the fitness levels I try and maintain," he has said.

"My desire to be successful as an individual and for the team are also very high, and I never give up no matter the situation."

Though he is a venerable 40, Stewart's career may still have a few surprises left.


SEE ALSO
Stewart follows father
13 Jun 03  |  Cricket
Stewart saves England blushes
05 Jun 03  |  Eng v Zim 2003
Still hungry after all these years
08 Apr 03  |  Cricket

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