Women's cricket November 5, 2015

Colvin retires at 26 to join ICC

ESPNcricinfo staff

Holly Colvin has walked away from potentially her best cricketing years © ICC/Getty

Holly Colvin, who made history when she became England's youngest Test cricketer, has officially announced her retirement from international cricket at only 26 to take up an administrative position at the ICC in Dubai.

Colvin, who took an indefinite break from all cricket following England's successful Women's Ashes campaign in 2013 with assurances that her career was far from over, has been appointed as the new Women's Cricket Senior Officer at the ICC and will take up the position at the end of the month.

"The women's game is barely recognisable from when I first started playing," Colvin said, "and even in the last couple of years since I took a break from the sport in 2013, the speed of professionalism in international women's cricket has been remarkable.

"There are so many amazing opportunities now in the women's game - both as a player and off the field - and I'm really excited to be starting this new challenge with the ICC in Dubai. It is the perfect next step for me to progress my career at the heart of the international women's game.

Colvin became England's youngest Test cricketer (of either gender) when she made her international debut at the age of 15, taking 3 for 67 in the first innings of the Women's Ashes Test in Hove. She went on to play five Tests, 72 one-day internationals and 50 Twenty20 internationals, returning 13, 98 and 63 wickets across each format respectively, and was a member of England's Women's World Twenty20 and Women's World Cup winning sides in 2009.

ECB's director of England women's cricket, Clare Connor, said: "To make your Test match debut as a 15-year-old in the first Test of an Ashes series takes a very special player. Holly had a hugely successful international career and she can be very proud of everything that she accomplished during her eight years in the England women's team. To retire with four Ashes victories to your name and as a double-World Cup winner is a superb achievement.

"Her move to work with the ICC in Dubai represents another sign of how the women's game continues to develop. It is brilliant that there are now so many more professional opportunities in the women's game, and the sport will be richer for retaining her talent."

Whether England women's cricket is healthier for her retirement, however, is a question that should be posed. A parallel decision in the men's game would not pass without some consternation. For all the extra financial resources in the women's game, balancing playing the sport with a committed professional career remains difficult.

Colin had reassured England that she had no intention of retiring for good when she took what was envisaged as a temporary break to prepare for a future career.

She used her sabbatical from international cricket to use her sport to spread awareness about AIDS in Africa, working for the charity Cricket Without Boundaries and becoming their head of recruitment.

She returned for Sussex in 2015, 10 years after her debut for the county, saying: "I'm going to play for the love of it - it's as simple as that. I have no idea if I will play international cricket in the near future or in the future at all."

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