North quits as WA skipper
Marcus North. Pic: WA News

UPDATE: Marcus North has stepped down as captain of the Warriors and the Perth Scorchers with immediate effect as the fallout to the Scorchers' Champions League debacle continues.

The very culture of West Australian cricket has come under the microscope since last week's embarrassment, which saw brothers Shaun and Mitch Marsh dropped for the final dead-rubber game against the Auckland Aces following a boozy night out for Mitch Marsh's 21st birthday, veteran Simon Katich slam the preparation of certain players and the team make a limp exit in the group stage.

Shaun Marsh has now been axed from the WA team for this week's Sheffield Shield clash with Victoria, although the Western Australia Cricket Association insist it because of a loss of form. However, a report into the incidents in South Africa is currently with WACA management.

Even national chairman of selectors John Inverarity has waded into the row, saying his old State side - labelled the "wild west" by eastern States media - needed changes.

North said a lack of batting form was behind his decision to quit.

"My form in the past two and a half years since playing Test cricket has not been to the high standard I place on myself. I want to enjoy my cricket without the pressure of captaincy and strive to be the best cricketer that I can be both personally and for the team," North said.

"I think I’m averaging about 30 which is 12 runs below my career average. I said that six years ago when I took the captaincy I didn’t want to do it if I was trying to justify my place in the team.

"It took a lot of the enjoyment away from me playing. Something had to give.

"If I go to Melbourne and miss out I probably don’t deserve to play the next game."

Mike Hussey will lead the Warriors in the Sheffield Shield match against Victoria at the MCG, starting on Thursday, although with Hussey on international duty for most of the summer a long-term replacement will need to be found.

The WA cricket team is in turmoil but North said the time was right for someone else to take the reins.

"It isn’t easy to read or hear," North said of the criticism. "The reality is when you don’t win things get questioned.

"We just haven’t been consistent enough to play finals or win finals.

"There needs to be a fresh voice in the side. A fresh leader. I will support them.

"I’m not running away, I’m not retiring. I’m still around this environment.

"I will still be there supporting moving forward. There is no one in this room that wants WA to be successful more than me."

As well as the Champions League exit for the Scorchers, the Warriors have lost their first two Sheffield Shield games - both at the WACA Ground.

WACA chairman David Williams said: "Marcus has been a long-serving captain and led Western Australia more than any other skipper besides John Inverarity, Graeme Wood and Tom Moody, which places him in exalted company indeed.

"While he wished he had enjoyed more success, as we all do, he has never made excuses. In my opinion he has been an outstanding leader, and the best news to come from this announcement is that he will continue as a player for the Warriors and Scorchers."

The West Australian

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