Abell, 29, was handed the Somerset captaincy ahead of the 2017 season, and led the club to victory in the 2019 Royal London Cup, and a trio of runners-up spots in red-ball competitions – a second-place finish in the County Championship in 2018 and 2019, and the final of the Bob Willis Trophy in the Covid-affected summer of 2020.
Somerset did collect silverware in 2023 with victory in the Vitality Blast – however, Lewis Gregory had taken over the reins from Abell following their run to the semi-finals in the previous season, and with a disappointing seventh-place finish in the Championship coinciding with a downturn in his own form, Abell has decided to relinquish his role.
“I’m stepping down with a heavy heart,” Abell said. “As a Somerset boy it’s been a massive privilege to captain the club and the experience has been incredible. It’s not been an easy decision, but I’ve thought about it a lot and I believe that it is in the best interests of the team and the club. Sometimes change can be a good thing and I think that now is the right time. My decision is entirely based on what I feel is best for us moving forward.
“During the last seven seasons there have been some great times and some tough times. I’m so grateful for the support that I’ve received, and Andy Hurry and Jason Kerr have been tremendous allies. I’ve had a tremendous support network behind me, especially my family, and I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of some great teams with some great players, who have helped to keep me in the job for so long!”
Abell came close to securing international honours earlier this year, when he was named in England’s white-ball squad for their tour of Bangladesh in March, only to withdraw with a side injury.
“I didn’t have a great season in 2023 and it can be tough to lead when you’re not necessarily content with your own performance,” he said. “This will give me the opportunity to get back to where I need to be, which is contributing to Somerset winning games of cricket.”
Hurry, Somerset’s Director of Cricket, said that Abell had led the club with “distinction” during his seven seasons in charge.
“Everyone connected with Somerset will agree that he has been an absolute credit to the club both on and off the field,” Hurry said. “His conduct, commitment, leadership and dedication have been exemplary during his time in the role, and he has written himself into the history of the club forever.”
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