London, Jan 21 (IANS): Former England batter Vikram Solanki has left his post as the head coach of county side Surrey with immediate effect. It was reported previously that Solanki might take up a director of cricket role with the new Ahmedabad-based franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL) though Surrey didn't name the side in the league that the 45-year-old is going to join.
"Surrey has been an extremely valuable part of my life for the last nine years, both as a player and as a coach, making the decision to leave a difficult one. I am forever grateful for the level of support that has always been afforded to me and my family during my time here. A special thank you too to Alec Stewart who has been a mentor and a guide," said Solanki.
Solanki first joined Surrey as a player in 2013 and went on to score 2,400 runs across all formats. In 2016, he took on a player/coach role with the Second XI helping to develop the likes of Ryan Patel, Ollie Pope and Amar Virdi as they progressed towards their senior debuts. He remained with the Second XI for the 2017 season entirely in a coaching capacity.
"I will always remain inspired by all the interactions and learnings with players and staff I have had the good fortune of working so closely with. There are many respected friendships I will cherish for a lifetime. Finally, it has been a privilege to serve this great club in the small way I have, and it has been an honour to have been the head coach of Surrey for the last two years," added Solanki.
Solanki was later appointed as the assistant coach under head coach Michael Di Venuto in 2017, helping to steer Surrey to County Championship glory in 2018 for the first time in 16 years before replacing the Australian at the helm at the end of the 2019 season. Though Surrey's form in red-ball cricket nosedived, he guided the side to the final of the 2020 Vitality Blast and semi-finals of the 2021 Royal London Cup.
"As a player & more recently a coach, he has had a very positive influence on the squad. His high standards, commitment, and work ethic have been exemplary, which we have all greatly appreciated. He was making excellent progress in his role as Head Coach with the knowledge, structure, man-management skills, and dedication he brought to the job, which I know all of the players have greatly appreciated in helping them to become better cricketers," said Alec Stewart, Director of Cricket at Surrey.
Solanki had been associated with the IPL in a coaching capacity before, when he was the assistant coach for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the 2019 edition. As a player, he represented England in 51 ODIs and three T20Is, scoring 1097 and 76 runs respectively. Solanki even played five matches for Rajasthan in Ranji Trophy from November 2006 to January 2007.
"On behalf of everyone at the Club I'd like to thank Vikram for his outstanding contribution during his time at the Club and wish him the very best in his new challenge as a Director of Cricket at the IPL," concluded Stewart.