Toby Roland-Jones named as Middlesex red-ball captain

Toby Roland-Jones, the former England seamer, has taken over from Tim Murtagh as Middlesex’s red-ball captain.

Roland-Jones, 35, will be embarking on his 14th season at the club, having made his debut back in 2010. In that time, he has taken 453 first-class wickets in 122 appearances, and will be leading Middlesex on their return to the first division of the County Championship, following promotion in 2022.

He takes over from Murtagh, who stepped in when Peter Handscomb – Middlesex’s original captain for 2022 – returned to Australia for family reasons after overseeing an unbeaten start to the campaign. Murtagh, 41, remains on the playing staff but has moved into a new player-coach role for the 2023 season.

“Tim and Pete did exceptional jobs last season in leading us back up into Division One of the Championship,” Richard Johnson, Middlesex’s head coach, said. “With Tim’s superb record as captain, when we’ve won or drawn 75% of the games he’s captained over the last two seasons, it would have been very easy for us to have asked him to skipper the side again this year.

“That said, with him now moving into a player/coaching role this year, we’ve made the tough decision to give the captaincy to another senior playing member of the group. I would however like to go on record in thanking Murts for all he has done for the side, and he can rightly be extremely proud of his record as captain.

“In Toby, we have someone who is highly respected in the dressing room and is a natural born leader. He is hugely competitive, plays with passion and aggression, and wears his heart on his sleeve. He is extremely proud to wear the three Seaxes on his chest and is a role model to all who play with him. I can’t think of a more obvious successor to Murts for the captaincy role of our Championship side than Toby.

“Our return to the top-flight this year will throw some challenges our way no doubt, however I am confident that with the experience Toby has at this level, he will be well placed to handle the pressures that Division One cricket will present.”

Stephen Eskinazi has been retained as Middlesex’s white-ball captain for 2023, having led from front with 1,089 runs across both formats last season, with four List-A centuries including a career-best 182, and an average of 94.00 in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

“Last season, and for the previous couple of years before that, Eski has not only been the stand-out player in Middlesex’s dressing room, but he’s been one of the best white-ball operators in the country,” Johnson said.

“As a player, he leads from the front and by example. He sets the standard for all others to follow. As a leader and as a captain, he is highly respected by the group, is very calm under pressure, and knows the white-ball game inside out.”

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