Back injury leads to decision

Jack Russell forced to retire

Wisden Cricinfo staff

June 22, 2004

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Jack Russell: a true eccentric © Getty Images
The former England wicketkeeper, Jack Russell, has quit the game after failing to overcome a back injury. Russell, 40, has struggled with his fitness for more than a year, and he was generally expected to retire at the end of this season anyway.

"Jack has worked extremely hard to overcome his back injury but recovery is just not to be and unfortunately both he and the club have to accept that he has to call it a day," said a a spokesman for Gloucestershire. "We owe him a massive thank you for his outstanding contribution, his commitment which is second to none and the tremendous impact he has made to cricket, both here for Gloucestershire and for England. Life will not be the same without him and he will be greatly missed."

Russell first played for Gloucestershire in 1981, and made his England one-day debut in 1987-88, with the first of his 54 Test appearances coming the following summer. In 465 first-class matches he scored 16,861 runs at 30.93, and took 1192 catches and 128 stumpings. In Tests, he scored 1897 runs at 27.10 as well as holding 152 catches and making 12 stumpings.

When his Test career ended prematurely, at the whim of the selectors rather than because of any decline in his ability, he reinvented himself as the hub of Gloucestershire's all-conquering one-day side. He was very popular with the public, and with his various obsessions - ranging from his battered sun-hat to the secrecy of where he lived - he was a genuine eccentric in an increasingly sterile world.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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