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Last Updated: Monday, 15 September, 2003, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Stewart ends cricket career
Alec Stewart

Alec Stewart has confirmed his first-class career has come to an end.

England's most capped cricketer called time on his international career after the fifth Test against South Africa.

And on Monday he revealed he would not be playing for Surrey anymore after the club announced his contract for the 2004 season would not be renewed.

The 40-year-old could have played in Surrey's final county match of the season, against Essex at The Oval on Wednesday, but decided the fifth Test against England was the perfect swansong to his glittering career.

Stewart said: "Playing for Surrey throughout my career has been a fantastic privilege.

"I have been lucky enough to play with some great players and particularly to be a part of the huge success the club has achieved over the last eight years."

Stewart is likely to remain at the club in some capacity, either as a coach or an ambassador.

He added: "I look forward to contributing to Surrey's continued success both on and off the pitch in years to come."

First team coach Keith Medlycott said financial restraints forced Surrey to part company with Stewart and Ian Ward.

"We are part of a bigger industry and that is the business itself and we have to deal with what is put in front of us," Medlycott said.

"We have to abide by certain rules and as much as we've tried to bend those and eke out extra money we weren't able to do that.

"It's an unfortunate scenario but players' worth in recent years has gone up in astronomical amounts but income has not followed suit."

Chief executive Paul Sheldon played tribute to Stewart.

He said: "Alec has shown tremendous loyalty and service to both England and Surrey over the past two decades.

"He will undoubtedly be remembered as the greatest Surrey player of modern times.

"We are discussing with Alec a new role which would involve using his considerable skills as an ambassador for the club."

Stewart's first-class career spanned 447 matches, scoring 26,165 at an average of 40 and taking 721 catches. He only ever played for Surrey and followed in the footsteps of his father Micky as captain of the club.

For England, he scored 8,463 runs in a remarkable 133-Test career, scoring 15 centuries and captaining the side on 15 occasions.


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