Injury forces Hamilton-Brown retirement
Sussex batsman Rory Hamilton-Brown has unexpectedly been forced to retire at the age of 27 due to injury. Hamilton-Brown, who five years ago became Surrey's youngest captain in more than a century, has not played since June 2014 because of a wrist problem that failed to respond to surgery.
An aggressive batsman, outstanding fielder and flat offspinner with a good quicker ball, he had all basic the ingredients to flourish in the modern limited-overs game. A first-class strike-rate of 72.18 might suggest a certain recklessness, but it also underlined his power and positivity.
Perhaps the burden of captaincy at Surrey stunted his development. Originally an England Under-19 captain, he was appointed to the Surrey job by Chris Adams, who he had played with at Sussex. The experiment seemed to be progressing well enough when Hamilton-Brown led them to the CB40 trophy and Championship promotion in 2011. The future looked bright.
Instead, his career - his life, perhaps - may be defined by the tragic events of June 2012. The death of his old friend and housemate, Tom Maynard, in an accident on the London Underground cast a pall over many of those most closely associated and Hamilton-Brown, in particular, never seemed to fully emerge from under the cloud.
He initially resigned the Surrey captaincy before moving back to Sussex, where he had enjoyed a successful two-year spell, ahead of the 2013 season.
"It is with regret that I am having to retire from cricket," Hamilton-Brown said. "I would like to thank my family for their care and support over the course of my career. I would also like to thank both Sussex and Surrey for giving me the chance to have the best job in the world for 10 years and all the coaches and staff that I have worked with along the way.
"It has been a privilege to play with and against some fantastic players and people all over the world. I will leave the game with a heavy heart but take with me many amazing memories and friends for life."
A Millfield schoolboy who came through Surrey's academy, Hamilton-Brown was at one time considered a potential candidate for England, particularly in the limited-overs formats where his bowling provided a useful second string. As well as leading Surrey to the CB40 title, he was part of the Sussex side that won the Twenty20 Cup and Pro40 competitions in 2009.
"We're really sorry that Rory has had to retire from the game," Mark Robinson, Sussex's cricket manager, said. "He has always worked incredibly hard during his time at Sussex and has been a popular member of the club with players and staff alike.
"All we can do at this point is to wish him all the best for the next chapter in his life and we look forward to seeing him around the ground in a more social capacity for many years to come."
It is a sad end to a career that promised much.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo