Ashes legend Hoggard to retire
Matthew Hoggard, the swing bowler who helped England regain the Ashes in 2005, has announced his retirement after a 17-year career at the age of 36.
He posted on Twitter that it was "time to hang up the boots" five years since the last of his 67 Test matches, during which he took 248 wickets at 30.50 with his prodigious swinging deliveries, becoming the eighth-highest wicket-taker in Tests for England. He also played 26 ODIs and served his home county Yorkshire and latterly Leicestershire with distinction.
Hoggard hoped to play one final season for Leicestershire having signed a contract extension last year but after a bit-part summer, and relinquishing the four-day captaincy, he has decided his playing days are over.
Big, bustling, and with the sort of energy coaches kill for, Hoggard flourished under Duncan Fletcher's regime as England coach, finding a regular place in the side despite Fletcher's love of out-and-out pace bowling.
In 2004, he began the year with a hat-trick in Barbados before helping England to an unbeaten summer against West Indies and South Africa. That winter he single-handedly bowled England to a series-clinching win in Johannesburg, taking 12 wickets in the match.
Then came the legendary Ashes series of 2005. Hoggard took 16 wickets and, perhaps most memorably, struck Brett Lee for four through extra-cover to help England edge home in a nerve-jangling run-chase at Trent Bridge.
It's been an amazing journey filled with some fantastic experiences shared with great people but time has come to hang the boots up !— Matthew hoggard (@Hoggy602) September 11, 2013
"I want to thank all of my family, friends, my past opponents, and both Yorkshire and Leicestershire for the support and dedication that they have shown me over the course of my career," Hoggard said. "I have been inspired by so many different people and the late Phil Carrick is just one example of someone who supported me from the very beginning and I owe him a lot.
"Playing cricket professionally and, of course, playing as part of the national side is a dream that nearly every young boy growing up in Yorkshire shares. I feel truly honoured to have been given such incredible opportunities and I am grateful to everyone that I have worked alongside.
"I want to thank my wife Sarah for the immense support she has shown me throughout my career. She has always been there for me and has continued to help me to do the very best that I can for my team, both on an international and county level.
"Nothing will ever replace the role that cricket has played in my life but I am looking forward to a new chapter and the chance to spend a little more time with my family. Cricket will continue to be hugely important to me and I wish Leicestershire the very best of luck for the future."
Peter Moores, who was Hoggard's England coach towards the end of the his career, paid tribute to him: "He's been a real character. Anyone who takes over 200 wickets for England and bowls the way he did and plays in iconic series like the 2005 Ashes will be satisfied when he looks back on his career.
"He started off as a really quick bowler when he burst on the scene and steadied that down to become a lively, out-swing bowler and very successful at it. He was very skilfull and a bit like we've seen with Jimmy Anderson, he learnt to bowl on the subcontinent, learnt to bowl in different conditions and learnt how to not just bowl in swinging conditions. He learnt how to run the ball on, bowl a cutter and do different things which is always a testament for anyone who has lasted in the game over a decent amount of time."