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Voges, Doherty and Hartley opt for retirement

Xavier Doherty was at his most effective for Australia in ODIs Getty Images

If it isn't quite Chappell, Lillee, Marsh, the simultaneous retirements of Adam Voges (37), Xavier Doherty (34) and Chris Hartley (34) from Australian domestic ranks will leave a major hole in terms of experience and character in the game down under.

All three elected to announce their exits from the game on the eve of the final Sheffield Shield round. Voges and Hartley remain in contention to take part in the decider should they secure outright wins with Western Australia and Queensland. Doherty has not played a Shield match since 2015, and Tasmania are out of the running.

As is customary, batsman Voges - who had retired from internationals last month - and left-arm spinner Doherty were farewelled by Cricket Australia as former wearers of the baggy green. Hartley never had that privilege, being excluded not by shortcomings on his part but by the quality of others, and also the truism that every Australian team requires at least five batsmen and at least four bowlers, but only one man behind the stumps.

Even so, it was Hartley who spoke - with typical understatement in language to which Voges and Doherty could relate - focusing on the task immediately at hand rather than the reflection that lies beyond. "I had been thinking about it for a while and so when it came time to let people know, it didn't feel as hard as I might have imagined,'' Hartley said. "There will be some emotion I guess when it is all done and dusted but for now it is focusing on what we have left to achieve."

"I remember when I first started playing for Queensland, Andy Bichel said to play each game as if it were your last, and that is how I have approached my career. It won't change now. I don't imagine there will be any talk from the players about sending me out a winner - we want to play our best cricket as a team so anything like that can be talked about later over a beer when the game's done."

As if to counterbalance the Australian representation enjoyed by Voges (20 Tests) and Doherty (four), Hartley is the most decorated domestic cricketer of the trio, having won two Sheffield Shields and three domestic limited-overs trophies. Voges has never won a Shield with WA but captained his state and went on to a substantial if brief Test career, in which he earn the distinction of a batting average of 61.87 - the second highest for anyone after Donald Bradman among those to have played 20 matches.

Voges' debut in Dominica in 2015 brought him a memorable and match-winning hundred, becoming the oldest man to do so in his first Test. Other major contributions were to be made at home against West Indies and away to New Zealand, before a run of outs in Sri Lanka last year led towards his omission from the Test side in November.

Doherty was at his most effective for Australia in ODIs, where he proved a canny and reliable left-arm spin bowler - his just reward a place in the 2015 World Cup-winning squad. As a Test bowler he was among the many cycled through Australian ranks in the years after Shane Warne's retirement, playing twice during the 2010-11 Ashes series then again during the fateful 2013 tour of India, but lacking the continuity that made him a vital cog of a successful Tasmanian Shield unit.

The closest Hartley came to playing for Australia was as a stand-in for a county match on the 2009 Ashes tour, when he was beaten to the reserve gloveman's spot by the South Australian Graham Manou. That was one of numerous tight calls that went against Hartley over a career in which he always maintained the highest standards behind the stumps, and gained renown as one of the hardest men to dismiss in Shield cricket.

In recent times Hartley has led the Bulls, but at the start of the season found himself left out of the limited overs team in favour of the younger Jimmy Peirson. As with Voges and Doherty, Hartley has been alert to the drums announcing the march of time. All will be missed.