THE former Kent all-rounder Neil Dexter is to take over the captaincy of Middlesex in his first season after the surprise announcement today that Shaun Udal is to step down.
Dexter, 25, a South African, is due to lead his new county in an away 20-overs match against Glamorgan on June 26 after a short stint by Adam Gilchrist during the Friends Provident Twenty20 tournament.
Udal apparently has become disillusioned by Middlesex's poor form, though he remains available for selection. A Middlesex official said he had captained Middlesex with "enthusiasm and pride" since September 2008, but that the former Hampshire off-spiner believed the time was right for someone else to captain the club.
Middlesex’s managing director of cricket Angus Fraser said: "Shaun took over the captaincy at an extremely difficult time for the club and has led the side with energy and pride. During the two years he has been in charge he has helped create a united team and a positive environment. He now has a key role to play in assisting his successor, Neil Dexter.
"Shaun cares passionately about how Middlesex CCC performs and has worked extremely hard to turn the team in to a winning outfit, but the indifferent cricket we continue to play has worn him down. It has affected his bowling too. Shaun is an intelligent and articulate man and he feels the team needs a change in leadership.
"His decision is respected by everyone at Middlesex CCC who would all like to thank him for the commitment he has shown during his time in charge. Shaun is not having the best of seasons, but he still has a role to play on the field. Unless I hear otherwise he is available for selection for teams that will be picked on merit."
"Neil Dexter was identified as a worthy successor to Udal earlier in the season and he will captain the club once Adam Gilchrist leaves. Neil is an extremely impressive young man. He is a fine player and is highly respected by everyone at the club."
Udal said captaining Middlesex had been a huge honour. "Letting go of something like that is extremely difficult," he said, "but Angus Fraser and I have agreed that this is the best way forward for the club. I would like to continue playing for Middlesex and will give my full support to both Adam Gilchrist and Neil Dexter."
Gilchrist captained the Deccan Chargers to success in the 2009 Indian Premier League and led Australia in all forms of the game with distinction.