Nixon revels in ending 'written in the stars'
It was Steve Waugh who said, famously, that there are no fairytales in sport, but Leicestershire veteran Paul Nixon was granted a dream finale as he ended his time in English county cricket with a Twenty20 win that was "written in the stars".
"It's been a great journey," Nixon said, whose county career has now spanned four decades. "Thankfully today it was written in the stars. The timing was right, everything was right."
Nixon, 40, announced his retirement at the beginning of this month, suggesting that he would finish after Leicestershire's Friends Life t20 quarter-final against Kent, ending a 22-year long first-class career.
"The quarter-final was very special for me," he said. "I felt like that was my send-off and that mentally, this was business time. That day was for me, this was for everybody else. This was for Leicestershire as a club."
In a jovial post-match press conference, Nixon made special mention of the team ethic that he believed had taken Leicestershire this far. "Every single person in our team has won a game for us in this competition," he said. "Andrew McDonald has been world class all the way through. Abdul Razzaq is a born winner. Claude Henderson is in a different class. He should've played 130 Tests for South Africa. James Taylor should have been playing for England weeks ago.
"I know all the players at Leicestershire inside out but I held [Man of the Match] Joshua Cobb in my arms when he was born, which is scary. Luckily I didn't drop him but I did hurt his head when I took the bails off."
Nixon also made a vital contribution of his own in Leicestershire's 18-run win over Somerset - dismissing the dangerous Kieron Pollard with a salmon leap of a catch that defied the years. "Mr. Pollard is a serious player. I was at Trent Bridge when he hit one over the stand. I've never seen a six like it. To catch him was a nice moment.
"But we have a small squad so everybody has to come to the party and that's what we've done." Tellingly, however, it was Nixon's name that Leicestershire's fans chanted as the team was presented with the trophy on an autumnal evening in Birmingham.
While Nixon has played his last county match on English soil, he insisted he would make the trip to India for the Champions League Qualifier at the end of September, now that Leicestershire have qualified. "I'll be 100% there. My passport is about to run out so I might have to pay a bit to get a new one, but thats my first job Monday morning."
Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo