County News October 24, 2005

Ian Ward announces retirement

Cricinfo staff

Ian Ward: Sky's the limit © Getty Images

Former England batsman Ian Ward has announced his retirement to pursue a career as a full-time cricket presenter and commentator.

Ward, 33, was a key member of Surrey's Championship-winning side between 1999 and 2002. He was rewarded with an England call-up in 2001, against Pakistan and Australia, but was quickly found out by Glenn McGrath, and failed to make an impression. He moved to Sussex in 2003 and was half-way through his contract. He hit 8575 first-class runs in a 14-year career.

"I have really enjoyed my time at Sussex and the club have been very good to me," he said. "I am disappointed I wasn't able to make more of a contribution this year. I'd never missed a match through injury before so to miss so many games in the second half of the season was very frustrating.

"Sussex are a great county to play for and I know I'll miss it when the new season starts, especially the camaraderie in the dressing-room and the adrenaline rush you get as an opening batsman facing quick bowlers."

Ward has spent the last two winters as a presenter and commentator on Sky Sports. "Television provides its own challenges," he said, "and I am really looking forward to developing my career in a different direction."

Ward's departure follows that of Tim Ambrose, the wicketkeeper-batsman who joined Warwickshire last week. But Sussex, for their part, have no plans to replace either man with a big-name winter signing. "The cricket management [at Sussex] are highly confident of being able to fill the void with one of our own young players," said Mark Robinson, the county's professional cricket manager. "I have every faith and confidence in their ability to take up the challenge to prove themselves at this level."