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."

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