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February 19, 2013
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."
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