GARY Pratt, captain of the Cumbria county cricket team, has announced he is to stand down as skipper.

Pratt, who will be 40 in December, intends to continue playing for the county, but hand over the captaincy to his current vice-captain Michael Slack of Carlisle.

Eric Carter, the Cumbria President said: “I would like to offer my personal thanks to Gary after he announced he is to stand down. It’s a position he has held since the 2010 season.”

Bishop Auckland-born Pratt joined Cumberland (as it was then) in 2007 after he had been released by Durham the previous year.

He had made his Durham debut in 2000 and in seven seasons he made 53 first class appearances and ended his career with a batting average of 24.10.

Pratt was more often used in the one-day games, clocking up 78 appearances, scoring over 1,700 runs with a final average of 31.80.

But wherever he goes he seems to be best remembered for running out the Australia captain Ricky Ponting while appearing as a substitute fielder for England during the 2005 Ashes series.

Primarily a left-handed batsman but who also bowls right-arm off breaks Pratt has been a valuable servant for Cumbria and county officials are especially pleased that he is to play on.