County news September 6, 2012

Croft calls time on 23-year Glamorgan career

ESPNcricinfo staff

Robert Croft, the Glamorgan offspinner, has announced his retirement from professional cricket at the end of the season, bringing to a close a 23-year playing career. He will remain at the Welsh club in a coaching and ambassadorial role.

"It's finally dawning on me that my career is coming to an end," Croft said. "It's unbelievable how quickly time has passed since from 1985 when I first walked into the Glamorgan environment as a teenager followed by my debut at the Oval in 1989; to think that it is the best part of 30 years is incredible.

"I count myself lucky to have played as long as I have and I'm grateful for the support I have received over the years from teammates, coaches and most importantly from my family and friends.

"I'm pleased to end my career with a home match against Kent next week, but when I walk up those stairs for the last time as a player, I will be emotional, there's sure to be a tear in my eye."

Croft, the 42-year-old former England spinner, has claimed 1,168 first-class wickets in his career, as well as making more than 12,000 runs - becoming the only player to take 1,000 wickets and score 10,000 runs for the county. He could yet add to those totals in Glamorgan's final Championship fixture of the season against Kent at Cardiff.

He also played in 21 Tests and 50 one-day internationals in an international career that ran from 1996 until 2001, yielding just shy of 100 wickets.

"I'm pleased to be able to stay involved in welsh cricket," Croft added. "In terms of coaching I'll speak to Matthew Mott to see how he plans to use me, but I expect that this will involve floating between both the first and second teams as well as helping aspiring young cricketers.

"I've always majored on the skills of the game, fitness is a factor of cricket more and more these days, but my game has always been about the skills. I hope to be able to share the bank of knowledge I have from 23 years in the first team of how batsmen and bowlers react in match situations.

Croft has not featured regularly this season, although he did help spin Glamorgan to only the second Championship victory of their Division Two campaign against Gloucestershire at Swansea last month, taking eight wickets in the match. Of his 12 first-team appearances so far, half came in the Friends Life t20 tournament, in which he was Glamorgan's joint-second leading wicket-taker.

Croft had reportedly wished to play on for a further year but, after meeting with chief executive, Alan Hamer, a move into the backroom staff was agreed.

Hamer said: "Although this announcement draws the curtain on a truly remarkable playing career, it also signals the start of a new chapter in Robert's life. Robert's playing record speaks for itself and I hope that large numbers of spectators will attend next week's match against Kent, to give him the send-off he deserves.

"With Robert's playing career drawing to a close, the club have spent the past few weeks working with Robert to determine the most effective way in which his skills and experience can be best utilised.

"We are therefore delighted that Robert will now remain with the club in a coaching and ambassadorial role which will now not only see him help with the development of our younger players but also working to raise the profile of Glamorgan and Welsh Cricket."