Michael Klinger to retire from first-class cricket

Michael Klinger negotiates a short ball Getty Images

Michael Klinger has announced he will retire from first-class cricket in Australia at the end of the Sheffield Shield season. He will continue to play T20 cricket beyond this summer. He has been a fixture in Australian domestic cricket since 1998-99 when he debuted for Victoria and has gone on to play for South Australia and Western Australia as well. At the international level, he played three T20Is for Australia.

"I feel extremely fortunate and blessed to have been part of the Australian domestic cricket structure for 19 years in a row and I've loved and appreciated every minute of it," Klinger said.

"I'm in a unique position where I'd like to thank three organizations who gave me opportunities at different stages of my career. Firstly, to Cricket Victoria for their help and support in my development and giving me my initial opportunities in domestic cricket in Australia. Secondly, I'd like to thank the South Australian Cricket Association for giving me an opportunity more than 10 years ago when my cricket career was at a crossroads, helping to kick-start a much-improved period of my career.

"I'm also thankful for the opportunity to captain both the Redbacks and Adelaide Strikers, which I really enjoyed and which helped to enhance my leadership skills. Finally, to the WACA for what has been an absolutely amazing and enjoyable four years, during which time I've had the opportunity to play as a senior player in a developing group."

After 10 years on the fringes of the Bushrangers side, his move to South Australia in 2008-09 was the making of him as a dominant force in Shield cricket. He scored 1203 runs at 70.76 that season.

He would go on to captain the Redbacks and led them to a Big Bash title in 2010-11 and a Ryobi Cup 50-over title in 2011-12. Klinger moved to Western Australia in 2013 and enjoyed similar success, winning one-day and T20 titles with the Perth Scorchers, and playing in Sheffield Shield finals.

"The greatest complement I could give Michael Klinger is to explain how I've been pinching myself every day since he agreed to come to the WACA, because he's such an incredible cricketer and incredible bloke," Warriors and Scorchers coach Justin Langer said. "He is an outstanding person both on and off the field and it's been an absolute pleasure to have him here at the WACA."

Klinger has not played a single first-class match for Western Australia this season and has been unavailable in part due to his wife Cindy's battle with breast cancer.

"I also need to send a huge thank you to my family for all their support, in particular my wife Cindy and kids Bailey, Summer and Easton, who have travelled with me for the last 10 years, both interstate and overseas, to give me the best opportunity to chase my dreams," Klinger said.

Klinger won't play in Western Australlia's next Shield game against Queensland but could still play again in either their final home and away match against South Australia at Gliderol Stadium, or in the Sheffield Shield final, should they make it. Klinger is contracted to English county side Gloucestershire till the end of the 2019 season, but hasn't played red-ball cricket for them since August 2016.