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November 18, 2011
Leicestershire's plans for next season have suffered a significant blow with Martin van Jaarsveld, the South African batsman, announcing his retirement from county cricket after he had initially signed with the club following a lengthy association with Kent.
van Jaarsveld, 37, has decided that he is unlikely to be able to return to the form that made him one of county cricket's most consistent scorers. In four SuperSport series matches for the Titans in the South African domestic season he has managed just 145 runs in eight innings at 20.71.
"I'm desperately sad not to be able to take up the challenge with Leicestershire," he told the club website. "I've always set the highest of standards but at the age of 37 I'm beginning to show signs of fatigue, which has affected my performance on the field.
"I've struggled to make significant contributions in four-day cricket with the bat of late and have even put down slip catches that I would previously have eaten for breakfast. Quite simply, at the end of this South African season I need a break to recharge the batteries.
"There's no doubt that the years of flying backwards and forwards between South Africa and England have taken their toll so for my own benefit and peace of mind and for the sake of my young family, my wife and I have decided to settle permanently in South Africa. I apologise to Leicestershire and to the fans but I'd rather be honest than turn up and not be able to perform at my best."
The head coach, Phil Whitticase, has already started planning to fill the vacancy. "We have a number of irons in the fire and hope to be able to announce a replacement in the near future."
However, van Jaarsveld's absence will leave Leicestershire light in the middle order, especially if James Taylor, the England batsman, departs the club as is widely expected to happen in the near future. Nottinghamshire are favourites for his signature although two compensation offers have been rejected by Leicestershire.
Taylor still has one year left on his current deal at Grace Road and is preparing to head to India with the England performance squad. "The sooner it gets resolved the better for all parties," he said. "It would certainly be better for myself so I could start concentrating on the winter and the EPP programme. Hopefully, behind the scenes it is being resolved."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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