County news December 8, 2011

Sutton retires following depression

ESPNcricinfo staff

Luke Sutton, the Derbyshire captain, has retired from first-class cricket after revealing that he has been having treatment for depression and anxiety.

Sutton captained Derbyshire for three of his six years with the club and guided them from the bottom of Division Two of the County Championship in 2010 to fifth place last season.

"I have been aware for some time that I have problems with certain aspects of my mental health," said Sutton. "I have always pushed myself to the limit but I reached a point that it was having an adverse effect on my relationships with my family and colleagues, and my health in general.

"Although as a professional sportsman it is extremely embarrassing to admit to a weakness, I'm proud to have found the strength of character to seek treatment, enabling me now to feel extremely positive about my future."

Sutton, 35, also has business interests and got married in 2008. He now has a young family. "A number of other important reasons have led me to decide to retire," he said. "In addition to concerns about my own health, my two-year-old daughter has recently been diagnosed with diabetes and the growing success and, therefore, pressure of my business has forced me to take a long look at my future.

"I've recently undergone hand surgery which has also played its part in this decision. Upon reflection, and although a difficult decision, it is the right time to move on."

Having started his career at Somerset in 1997, Sutton played for Derbyshire from 1999 to 2005, unexpectedly becoming captain in 2004. He left for Lancashire in 2006 before returning to captain Derbyshire again last season.

"I've had a brilliant time over my 14 years in the game," said Sutton, who scored 7,353 first-class runs. "I have made some incredible friends. I thank each and every one of them for making it a genuinely amazing experience. In particular I'd like to thank the squad and members at Derbyshire for their great support and encouragement during my time at the club.

"I have thought long and hard about this decision, and I know it is for the best of the club. I genuinely don't feel I would be able to fulfil my position at the club to the level that I know is required. I have great affection for Derbyshire and I wish the club every success for the future."

Sutton is one a number of cricketers that have sought help for depression. Former England batsman Marcus Trescothick retired from international cricket in 2006 having experienced problems when touring abroad. Michael Yardy, the Sussex captain, took a break from cricket having flown home during the World Cup in March.

Derbyshire chairman Chris Grant thanked Sutton for his efforts with the club. "Luke's retirement was unexpected but we respect his decision. With the changes that were made at the club during the 2011 season, we appreciate it was a testing year for Luke and on a personal level I would like to thank him for his loyal support.

"I speak for everybody connected with the club in saying that I wish Luke all the very best in his continued recovery and in his future endeavours," he added. "We will be announcing Luke's successor as club captain in the next few days and preparations for the 2012 season continue as planned."