Penney offered Sri Lanka coaching role
Warwickshire's veteran batsman, Trevor Penney, will retire from first-class cricket at the end of the season to take up a post as Sri Lanka's assistant coach.
Penney, 37, made his first-class debut in 1986-87 - the year that England last won the Ashes - and joined Warwickshire for the 1988 season. Originally from Zimbabwe, he had to complete a four-year residential qualification, but the time on the sidelines paid off in 1994, when he helped his county to a unique treble. In all, he played in seven one-day finals, the most recent against Hampshire three weeks ago.
Like his fellow Southern African, Jonty Rhodes, Penney was perhaps best known for his outstanding fielding which, even at the age of 37, remained good enough to earn him a role as one of England's substitute fielders in the recent Ashes campaign. He had been appointed as England's fielding coach for that series, and now feels ready to expand his coaching horizons.
"I have spent half my life with Warwickshire, and I have enjoyed a wonderful and highly successful career," said Penney in a statement, "winning trophies and medals along the way, so retiring from all of this was not something I could consider lightly.
"But when an opportunity came along to start a new career in coaching, and at international level, I simply couldn't turn it down. I would like to take this opportunity to thanks everybody involved at Warwickshire CCC for their support and encouragement throughout my entire career."
Dennis Amiss, Warwickshire's Chief Executive said: "Obviously we are sorry to lose Trevor's talents from the squad. He has been a great servant to the club, a brilliant strokemaker and one of the best fielders I have ever seen, so he will be difficult to replace, but we fully understand and support his decision to pursue this new challenge with Sri Lankan cricket. We have no doubt that he will be a tremendous step forward for Trevor and we wish him the best of luck as he starts his new role."
Penney was head-hunted by Tom Moody, his former Warwickshire team-mate who became Sri Lanka's head coach after leaving Worcestershire in June. "Sri Lanka came in for me, I didn't apply for the job," he added. "It's very flattering to know that you are so highly regarded by someone like Tom Moody."
The England & Wales Cricket Board have agreed to release him from a winter job as specialist fielding coach at the National Academy at Loughborough. Penney's final match for Warwickshire will be Sunday's national league game against Durham at Edgbaston, after which he begins a contract that will run until after the 2007 World Cup.