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Hamilton-Brown quits as Surrey captain
Rory Hamilton-Brown has resigned as captain of Surrey having struggled to regain equilibrium following the death of close friend and team-mate Tom Maynard. Although Hamilton-Brown has reaffirmed his commitment to pursuing a playing career, he has accepted it will take time to regain the mental and physical fitness required to fulfil one of the more demanding jobs in cricket.
Gareth Batty will continue as Surrey captain until the end of the season, with the club making a decision about a longer-term solution in the off-season. Batty and new signing Vikram Solanki will be among the candidates for the role, though Chris Adams, Surrey's director of cricket, has made no secret of his desire to bring in new faces.
Hamilton-Brown's resignation brings to an end an experiment that was beginning to bear fruit. Just 22 at the time of his appointment in 2010 - the youngest Surrey captain in more than a century - Hamilton-Brown assumed leadership of a team struggling in all formats of the game. While progress was not always smooth, Surrey won the CB40 competition and Championship promotion in 2011 and, with a squad boasting several highly talented young players, looked set for a period of sustained success.
Then came the tragic incident in June that claimed the life of Maynard - a young batsman in whom club and country had high hopes - and Hamilton-Brown was given indefinite compassionate leave to come to terms with his grief. While he has taken the first tentative steps towards a first-team return, he has decided that the responsibilities of captaincy are a burden he can do without at this stage of his rehabilitation. Surrey have not won a Championship game in his absence and endured a poor T20 campaign.
"I am honoured to have captained Surrey, the county I have played for since I was nine years old," Hamilton-Brown said. "It has been a privilege to have been in charge of a fantastic group of players and what we achieved together is a great source of pride to me, particularly our unprecedented record of only one defeat in 20 Clydesdale Bank matches.
"I am only 24 and would now like to concentrate on my own game and try to achieve ambitions I have in the game by continuing to play well for Surrey."
Adams said: "I would like to thank Rory for everything he has achieved during his three years as captain. Having taken on the captaincy in 2010, winning a Lord's final and securing promotion to Division One in 2011 were both fantastic achievements. He has undoubted talent and a desire to take his game to the next level. I hope he achieves all his ambitions within the game in the years to come."
Surrey remain in contention to retain the CB40 trophy - they are top of Group B having lost just one of their eight games - but have slipped into relegation trouble in the Championship, losing their most recent match against Durham by an innings.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo