July 29, 2002

Thorpe to take a complete break from cricket

Graham Thorpe
Photo CricInfo

Graham Thorpe, one of England's leading batsmen over the past decade, has announced that he is to take a break from all cricket and will be unavailable for either Surrey or England in the immediate future. The news comes less than three weeks after the Surrey left-hander quit one-day cricket at international level.

Thorpe looked thoroughly out of sorts in the first Test against India at Lord's, playing just two scoring shots in the match and missing a catch in the slips off Sachin Tendulkar.

In a statement released by the England and Wales Cricket Board today after England's 170-run win, Thorpe said: "This has been a very difficult decision for me to make as I have enjoyed being a part of the Surrey and the England dressing rooms this summer and have every intention of continuing my career as a professional cricketer.

"But I am feeling very worn down and burnt out by events off the field, which have become a major distraction for me and prevented me from fully focusing on my cricket."

Thorpe's announcement comes during a period of domestic upheaval. He returned home early from the tour of India late last year in an unsuccessful attempt to save his marriage. Announcing his retirement from one-day internationals earlier this month, he indicated his wish to spend more time with his two young children.

"What I'm planning to do now is take a break from cricket so I can make my children the number one priority in my life and give myself more time to re-adjust to my changed domestic circumstances," Thorpe said today.

"I'm fully aware of the consequences as far as my England Test place is concerned. This will create an opportunity for another player to come into the team and I have had to balance that possibility against the needs of my family.

"Retirement is definitely not in my mind at the moment. I feel that I have plenty more cricket in me at the highest level and hopefully this break will recharge my batteries and allow me to resume my career once my domestic situation has been resolved."

Thorpe, who will be 33 on Thursday, has played in 77 Test matches, scoring 5,109 runs at an average of just under 42. It is just four and a half months since he made his highest Test score - an unbeaten 200 - against New Zealand at Christchurch. In all he has scored 11 centuries, 30 half centuries and taken 86 catches.

The England captain, Nasser Hussain, said of Thorpe's decision: "He will be fine, he just needs to sort out his life. It's easy to forget that two Tests ago he got a hundred and four before that he got a double hundred - he's the first name down on the team sheet, a class act."