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McGrath ends 17-year career

Alex Winter

February 19, 2013

Comments: 12 | Text size: A | A

Anthony McGrath steadied any nerves with 68, Essex v Yorkshire, County Championship, Division Two, Chelmsford, 3rd day, September, 13, 2012
Anthony McGrath has been involved with Yorkshire since he was 12 © Getty Images
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Anthony McGrath, the former England allrounder and Yorkshire stalwart, has retired at the age of 37, ending a 17-year career.

Yorkshire born and bred, McGrath turned out 619 times for his home county, beginning in 1995 aged 19 against Glamorgan at Bradford - the city of his birth. He went on to score 35 first-class centuries among 14,698 runs at 36.83. His useful swing bowling also claimed 134 first-class wickets at 35.66.

He was out of contract at Headingley and a thumb injury sustained last season has forced McGrath's hand. He will remain involved with Yorkshire in a coaching capacity.

He played four Tests as an ersatz replacement for Andrew Flintoff in 2003, making consecutive half-centuries against Zimbabwe. He retained his place on Flintoff's return for the start of the South Africa series but was dropped after the second Test. He also played in the one-day series against Pakistan and South Africa that summer and four more ODIs a year later.

But despite not making the most of his brief opportunity in international cricket, McGrath flourished for Yorkshire. Having helped them win the County Championship in 2001, he became captain in 2003 and his best years came in 2005 - 1,425 runs at 59.37 - and 2006 - 1,293 at 61.57. But his best season was almost his last at Yorkshire; he fell out with the county, turning down the captaincy and was set to leave the club until Darren Gough returned as captain as persuaded McGrath to stay.

He served another six years at Headingley and became captain again when Gough retired in 2008. But after just one season, change was called for and he was replaced by Andrew Gale. McGrath responded with 1,219 runs at 43.53 that summer.

"It has been an honour and a privilege to have represented Yorkshire throughout my professional career," McGrath said. "I have been involved with this great club every summer since I was 12 and it is going to be difficult not having the opportunity to play again. I have met some great people that have become my closest of friends."

Martyn Moxon, the Yorkshire director of cricket, said McGrath had given every ounce of blood to the county: "He is the perfect role model for any aspiring junior wanting to be the best they can be. The way he inspires those around him is his distinct quality."

Yorkshire's executive chairman, Colin Graves, hailed McGrath's magnificent contribution to the game. "He has represented the county with honour and distinction and will be regarded as one of the club's most respected professionals in the last 25 years. Anthony was a wonderful ambassador for Yorkshire cricket off the field as well as on it."

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by DaveMorton on (February 22, 2013, 11:22 GMT)

Perhaps not a 'great' Yorkshire batsman, not alongside Sutcliffe, Hutton, Boycott & Lehmann, but one hell of a county pro. I loved watching him, especially two innings of staggering brilliance against Shoaib Akhtar bowling very fast. Thanks for the memories, Mags.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 13:08 GMT)

I can't believe the subtitle! 'All rounder retires as one of Yorkshire's greats'!! In the same category as Rhodes, Hutton, Trueman, Boycott, etc? What exactly is the definition of great if Anthony McGrath is included? Did the author confuse him with Glenn?!!

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 15:26 GMT)

Marc Beckers: I always thought 'ersatz' had a sense of lower quality than the original or that it was a 'make do' sort of substitute rather than a like for like. Maybe the writer of this article had the same in mind.

What I did find incredible was the subtitle; 'All rounder retires as one of Yorkshire's greats'!!!! Not necessarily for the 'all rounder' tag (In this case, was Graham Gooch an all rounder?!) but one of Yorkshire's greats? I think the author must be very young or at least needs to do a bit of research into Rhodes, Hutton, Trueman, Boycott, etc before writing another article. And this from me, a Lancashire fan!

Posted by skilebow on (February 19, 2013, 20:09 GMT)

TripleCenturian - agreed as many are saying on the white rose forum...our batting looks extremely brittle now. Esp. as Root and Bairstow will probably spend at least some of the summer with England. If you look at it positively then its just an opportunity for another couple of youngsters to stake a claim but in all honesty i think it will be difficult to stay up unless we sign an overseas player

Posted by TripleCenturian on (February 19, 2013, 18:45 GMT)

Sorry it has been an injury that has forced his retirement. It must be serious to have niggled since the end of last season and still not be better now or at some stage in the near future. I could have envisaged Mags leaving on several occasions in the past. His hard line stance over wanting to leave before Gough returned and after his poor season in 2011 when we were relegated and we had talented batsmen coming through in spades (Root, Ballance, Bairstow). He now leaves at a time when we might have needed him most of all, with our three young star batsmen all involved with England and with no other batsman who can bowl to a decent level. We also appear to be avoiding the much needed overseas signing to plug the likely gaps in our top order. Mags was a useful player who got the most out of his ability and perfect for a county team as he was just not quite good enough to trouble the England selectors other than as a cover for Flintoff v Zimbabwe where he did well.

Posted by skilebow on (February 19, 2013, 17:44 GMT)

Sounds like he has been nursing his thumb all winter to see if he could have another season and has obviously decided he can't. Hope he gets a good and long lasting coaching job at Yorkshire as it is the least he deserves. We should already credit him with at least aiding the development of both Root and Bairstow

Posted by nathangonmad on (February 19, 2013, 12:59 GMT)

Damn. I at least thought he'd have a swansong, one more season of first division cricket.

Posted by Gordo85 on (February 19, 2013, 11:41 GMT)

One thing I remember about this guy was when Darren Lehmann played for Yorkshire he used to make tones of runs alongside of Darren Lehmann very often. Another thing I remember about McGrath was that he used to bowl off spinners for years but then all of a sudden out of nowhere he was bowling Medium pace. He was a good talent. Another player like Glen Chapple who should have played more games for England.

Posted by Stuart_Watson on (February 19, 2013, 11:40 GMT)

At his peak, McGrath was a fine player. My lasting memory of him will be from a limited overs match against Middlesex at Southgate in 2004. Owais Shah batted magnificently for the home side in making 125* but in Yorkshire's innings McGrath matched him for range and power of stroke. He ran out of partners on 96* depriving him of a thoroughly deserved century. Like Shah he looked several cuts above the other players on show and every inch the England player that he briefly was.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (February 19, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

My favourite type of cricketer: the county pro, tried, tested & never found wanting: the salt of the earth when it comes to Englsih first class cricket. All the best for a fulfilling retirement from active service on the field for Yorkshire, & may the coaching go well, Anthony. It's been a good knock!

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