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Peters announces retirement

Stephen Peters led the way with 88 Getty Images

Stephen Peters, the former Northamptonshire captain, has announced his immediate retirement from the game. Peters, 36, was in the final year of his contract and has chosen to call time on a career that spanned almost two decades.

The last ten years have been spent at Northamptonshire, who Peters led to promotion from Division Two of the Championship in 2013. He was replaced by Alex Wakely after their subsequent relegation but chose to stay on at Northamptonshire after being told he could speak to other clubs.

Peters has played nine times in the Championship this season, with four half-centuries - the last of which came in May. His overall Northamptonshire record was more impressive, with 22 hundreds and 8832 runs at 38.73. Between 2006, his first at Wantage Road, and 2011, the opener consistently aggregated close to 1000 first-class runs at an average above 40.

"It is with a heavy heart but a clear mind that I have decided to retire from playing," Peters said. "The last 20 years have been very special and the memories and friends I have made will stay with me forever.

"To be a professional cricketer is harder maybe then many people realise, the emotional ups and downs of success and failure are never far away but mostly it has been great fun. I have traveled the world and realised many dreams along the way but all good things come to an end.

"I would like to thank Essex and Worcestershire but especially Northants where the last ten years have been fantastic. I wish the club and all the players the very best for the future. It's a small club but with a big heart and it holds a special place in mine.

"Thank you to all the people who have supporter and followed my career since I was a boy, I hope I gave you some smiles along the way. Lastly, thanks to my close family and friends, whose continued support and love has made this journey possible and have always been there when I needed you."

Peters began his career with Essex in 1996 and scored a hundred in the final of the Under-19 World Cup, which England won, in 1998. He moved on to Worcestershire, where he spent three seasons, before settling at Northamptonshire, eventually taking on the Championship captaincy from Andrew Hall at the end of 2012.

Northamptonshire's coach, David Ripley, said: "Pedro has been a top professional over many seasons. He is a real competitor, never taking a backward step on the field. What we shared in 2013 as first team captain and coach will stay with us forever. His input into that season was massive and his contribution to Northants cricket has been much more than a top quality opening batsman. A top bloke; we wish him well."