ONE of the most highly rated coaches in the country has left Gloucestershire to join Surrey.

Stuart Barnes will become the new fast bowling coach at The Oval as replacement to former England international Martin Bicknell, who has been handed a new role as chief scout at the club.

The news comes as a big blow to Gloucestershire as assistant coach Barnes played a key role in nurturing the talents of Will Gidman, Ian Saxelby, David Payne, James Fuller and Liam Norwell.

He also worked with the likes of Jon Lewis, who he will be reunited with at Surrey, Steve Kirby, Anthony Ireland and Gemaal Hussain, all of which played arguably the best cricket of their careers at Gloucestershire.

Barnes, 42, played 11 first class matches for Gloucestershire in the early 90s.