County news January 25, 2007

Ball in surprise retirement

Cricinfo staff

Martyn Ball was a great servant of Gloucestershire cricket © Getty Images
Martyn Ball has shocked Gloucestershire by announcing his retirement from professional cricket after 19 years with the club. Despite signing a new one-year deal last summer he as opted to take up a role with the US-based property development company Ginn Europe.

Ball, 36, admits it was a huge decision to leave the sport behind but felt the time was right. "I've had 19 fantastic years playing first-class cricket and Gloucestershire has become a major part of my life," he told Western Daily Press.

"But this marvellous opportunity has come along and I have had to make a decision. There has been a lot of soul searching but, in my mind, I know this is the right time for me to announce my retirement.

"I've seen people stay too long and end their careers full of bitterness and resentment and I didn't want that for myself. This way, I'm going out on my own terms and with my reputation intact."

Tom Richardson, the chief executive, praised Ball's efforts with the club. "He has made a significant contribution, especially during the past eight seasons when our team has collected nine trophies.

"His efforts in these one-day competitions cannot be underestimated although the statistics will not always show the depth of Martyn's contribution."

Ball is also set to leave his position as Professional Cricketers' Association chairman but still hopes to put something back into the game. "I want to be able to come back in the future and help out Gloucestershire in any way I can."

In a career spanning 193 first-class matches he took 389 wickets at 37.74 and scored 4633 runs at 19.22. However, it was in the one-day game where he really shone and his 288 wickets came at 30.47 while he was a brilliant slip fielder. He'd also adapted well to Twenty20, playing 29 matches and taking 27 scalps at 24.48.

His highest honour came when he was called up to England's tour of India in 2001-02 after Robert Croft's withdrawal from the trip following the 9/11 attacks. He didn't make the Test team, but did line-up in a warm-up fixture and came as a sub in the second Test, at Ahmedabad, catching Sourav Ganguly off Andrew Flintoff.