Ollie Pope Returns for Surrey, Determined to Honor Alec Stewart's Legacy

Ollie Pope Returns for Surrey, Determined to Honor Alec Stewart’s Legacy

Ollie Pope, England’s rising star, has declared his availability for Surrey’s County Championship opener against Lancashire, eager to contribute to the club’s title defense and honor the legacy of outgoing director of cricket Alec Stewart.

Despite a disappointing Test tour of India, where he failed to capitalize on his impressive 196 against Hyderabad, Pope is determined to make amends. He believes he is in good form and is eager to find his rhythm at No. 3 for Surrey.

Pope’s return is a significant boost for Surrey, who are aiming for a hat-trick of County Championship titles. However, the 24-year-old is also deeply saddened by Stewart’s impending departure. He credits Stewart with transforming the club and fostering a culture of success.

Pope recalls his early days at Surrey, when the club was grappling with challenges, including the tragic death of Tom Maynard. He believes Stewart’s leadership and unwavering commitment played a crucial role in turning things around.

Pope also acknowledges the influence of Stewart’s brother, Neil, a batting coach who has been instrumental in his development. He praises Neil’s technical expertise and unwavering belief in his abilities.

As Stewart prepares to step down, Pope expresses his gratitude for his guidance and support. He hopes to honor Stewart’s legacy by winning trophies for the club and continuing to improve his game.

Alec Stewart to Step Down as Surrey Director of Cricket

Alec Stewart to Step Down as Surrey Director of Cricket

Alec Stewart, the legendary cricketer and former England Test captain, has announced his decision to step down as Surrey’s director of cricket at the end of 2024. Stewart, 60, has been at the helm of Surrey for 11 years, overseeing a period of unprecedented success for the club.

During his tenure, Surrey has won three County Championships (2018, 2022, 2023), establishing themselves as one of the dominant forces in English domestic cricket. Stewart’s leadership has also fostered a strong dressing-room culture and a commitment to developing young talent, with nine Surrey players going on to represent England.

However, Stewart’s decision to step down is driven by a desire to prioritize his family. His wife, Lynn, has been battling cancer since 2013, and Stewart wants to dedicate more time to her and their family.

“This has been the toughest decision of my working career,” Stewart said. “But after careful consideration, I will be stepping down from my role as Director of Cricket at the end of this calendar year.”

Stewart’s departure will leave a significant void at Surrey, but he has expressed his commitment to supporting the club in any way he can. He will continue to be available for advice and guidance, and he remains passionate about the club’s future.

“I am incredibly proud of what has been achieved over the last 11 years,” Stewart said. “Supporting young talent to develop into top-quality players is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable parts of the job.”

Surrey’s chairman, Oli Slipper, praised Stewart’s leadership and legacy. “Alec has been an outstanding leader over the last 11 years,” Slipper said. “He has built a club in his own image that is hard-working, dedicated, and humble.”

Surrey’s CEO, Steve Elworthy, echoed Slipper’s sentiments. “Alec has been one of the greatest servants this club has ever seen,” Elworthy said. “His professionalism, work ethic, and commitment to the club have driven success in his playing days and even more so as Director of Cricket.”

The search for Stewart’s successor is expected to be exhaustive, given Surrey’s status as one of the leading clubs in English cricket. The club’s aims for 2024 include strengthening ties with Oval Invincibles in the Hundred and growing the women’s side of the game.

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