County news July 25, 2006

Ashley Cowan announces retirement

Cricinfo staff

Ashley Cowan: bowing to the inevitable © Getty Images

The Essex fast bowler, Ashley Cowan, has retired from first-class cricket due to a persistent knee injury. Cowan, 31, toured the Caribbean with the England squad in 1997-98, but never played a Test.

Born in Hitchin, Cowan appeared in 102 first-class matches following his debut against Derbyshire at Chelmsford in August 1995. After a decade as the spearhead of the Essex attack he made his last first-class appearance in May 2005 against Worcestershire.

"I am retiring due to a chronic knee injury," Cowan told the Essex CCC website. "I would love to continue my first-class playing career but sadly it is just not possible for me to perform anymore."

After a major operation in 2003, Cowan had a year out in rehabilitation and returned to action during the second half of the 2004 season. He struggled, however, in the 2005 season and spent the first half of 2006 attempting to see out his contract.

"I have had a fantastic 12 years in the game but now is the time to give the youngsters a chance," added Cowan. "Unfortunately every cricketer's career comes to an end but for some it's earlier than others. I've had some fun along the way but my body has told me enough is enough."

"It is very disappointing that Ashley has had to announce his retirement," added Essex's chief executive, David East. "We all knew that the radical and experimental surgery that he undertook in 2003 was never guaranteed to be a success and despite giving himself every opportunity to make a full recovery it is evident this is not possible."

Cowan was awarded a benefit for this year, and his fundraising chairman, Mike Smith, said: "Ashley's popularity on and off the pitch has been evident by the support we have seen in his benefit year. I thank all Essex supporters for showing their appreciation to date and encourage anyone still wishing to do so to check the benefit website at"