Australia news February 24, 2016

Hilfenhaus retires from first-class cricket

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ben Hilfenhaus: 'To get the opportunity to play one Test was a great honour, so to play 27, I would have taken that at the start of my career' © Getty Images

Australia and Tasmania fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus has announced his retirement from first-class cricket. Hilfenhaus, 32, said his many injury issues forced the decision. He will continue to turn out in Twenty20 cricket, though, for Big Bash League team the Melbourne Stars.

"I've had to make a decision with regards to my body not being able to perform at the level I'd like in four-day cricket anymore," Hilfenhaus told Cricket Australia's website. "Everyone gets old eventually and after a little bit of thinking, I think this is my best way forward - to hang up the boots from the red-ball game. It's getting harder and harder to back up day after day and bowl the amount of overs that's required for four-day cricket.

"I've had a problem with my hamstring attachment for pretty much the whole summer. That hasn't really gone away which tells me I need a little break from the game for the short-term, have a mini pre-season and get myself fit and strong and ready to play white-ball cricket for the Melbourne Stars."

Hilfenhaus played 104 first-class games - but none since November - including 27 Test matches. He took 99 wickets in those 27 Tests, at 28.50 apiece. He debuted against South Africa in Johannesburg in February 2009, and had two stand-out series in his international career: in the 2009 Ashes he took 22 wickets in five games at 27.45, and in 2011-12, against India, he claimed 27 in four matches at 17.22. Overall, he took 387 first-class wickets at 29.34, including 13 five-fors and a ten-wicket haul.

Speaking of his international career, and having missed out on 100 Test wickets by a whisker, he said: "I'll definitely take that. Over the past few years I've had a few niggles and things that have affected the way I've performed in red-ball cricket and it is what it is. To get the opportunity to play one Test was a great honour, so to play 27, I would have taken that at the start of my career, that's for sure. And at the end of the day it's just a number, isn't it? Ninety-nine or 100?"

He said he hoped to continue to play the shortest format for a few years at least, given he still enjoyed playing when his body allowed. "It makes the decision a little bit easier to hang up the boots from red-ball cricket; hopefully it will prolong my white-ball career. I've still got that passion to play at that level. I'll try and play for as long as I can and I definitely feel like I've got a few years left in me, that's for sure."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Peter on March 1, 2016, 14:14 GMT

    thanks hilfy.... done good played strong some of your spells were beautiful

  • Ronald on February 25, 2016, 7:55 GMT

    A great servant of Tasmanian & Australian cricket & a gent both on & off the field....a rare trait for a fast bowler.

  • Cricinfouser on February 25, 2016, 4:57 GMT

    real shame he retired. He is only 32. I guess its tough being a fast bowler. He was a good bowler though, with a very good outswinger. He was quick as well, capable of clocking 145 ks at his best. But I guess if you are an Australian fast bowler, if you are out, it is very hard to get back because the competition is so intense. Wish him all the best though.

  • Ragavendran on February 25, 2016, 4:53 GMT

    Best of luck Hilfy for your T20 career... He did Australia proud in Ashes 2009 and in SA test series before that.

  • Simon on February 25, 2016, 3:50 GMT

    It's really sad to see him having to retire at the age of just 32. The hamstring injury sounds painful! It's a pity to lose another exponent of swing bowling from the First-Class scene... no doubt he should have played more for Australia. All the best to him in his T20 career... might even see him in the green and gold again in the shortest format.

  • Brady on February 24, 2016, 23:04 GMT

    Another guy, like Siddle, that if they were born anywhere but Australia or South Africa would have had a 100 test career and be called a great for their country. At his best he was a dangerous new ball bowler but at his worst military medium.

  • Jonathan on February 24, 2016, 22:48 GMT

    Should have played more often. Has a better average than Mitchell Starc ever did, and had a better average than Mitchell Johnson for most of Johnson's career.

  • James on February 24, 2016, 21:53 GMT

    Thanks for the memories Hilf. You deserved that 100th wicket. I'll never forget Wade dropping du Plessis off your bowling in the last over before tea on day 5 of the drawn Adelaide test. Not only did it change the result of the match but it denied you your 99th test wicket. That wicket you took in your last test vs Sri Lanka (in Tassie, no less) should have been your 100th.

    Probably a bit harsh on Wade to single that moment out from your whole career but it's etched into my memory.

  • N on February 24, 2016, 16:31 GMT

    They really ought to call him 'Terminator' because he played a massive role in ending the careers of some of India's finest players including Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag and Gambhir. At his best, he was a terrific out-swing bowler who also possessed a really sharp bouncer.

  • Drew on February 24, 2016, 14:19 GMT

    Always a big fan of Hilfy. I really wish he could have got over the 100 mark, but then so does Warnie! At his worst, yes, the ball would swing from his hand. But it swung even at his worst. At his best he had a burly but rhythmic action and I always felt he was a chance. If he were born a Marsh and a batsman he could have come back from the worst series in Australian cricket's recent memory. But alas, injuries took their toll. Thanks for your contributions Hilfy and all the best for your continued short form career.

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