Stewart backs veteran Batty to restore Surrey’s former glories

Ross McLean
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FORMER England skipper Alec Stewart believes veteran off-spinner Gareth Batty has earned the right to lead his county after yesterday being appointed Surrey captain.

The 37-year-old signed a new two-year deal with Surrey at the end of last season after snaring 39 Championship wickets at an average of 23.46, and takes over the captaincy from wicketkeeper Gary Wilson.

Batty has twice performed the role on a temporary basis in testing circumstances, initially following the tragic death of Tom Maynard and Rory Hamilton-Brown’s departure, and later when injury cut short ex-South Africa captain Graeme Smith’s stay at the club.

“He has captained previously as a stand-in but now he has got the job on merit,” said Surrey director of cricket Stewart. “He understands the responsibilities which come with captaincy. We believe he is the right man for the job.

“Gareth is a very honest man, of fine character and a good leader. He has the respect of the dressing room and we have every confidence that he will lead the team forward.”