Knee injuries force Butcher to retire

Mark Butcher drives during his 120 Getty Images

Mark Butcher, the Surrey club captain, has announced his retirement because of a persistent knee injury.

Although Butcher has managed five Championship matches this season he had further surgery two weeks ago with the hope of returning before the end of the current campaign. However, he has now conceded defeat to his long-standing problem and ends a 19-year professional career.

He has been with Surrey throughout and his retirement brought to an end a great family playing tradition at The Oval. Mark followed his father, Alan, into the team and they joined forces as captain and coach before Alan left following relegation last season.

"It was a very tough decision to walk away from the club that I have called home since I was a boy and the game that has given me so many great memories," Butcher said. "But I feel that it is the right time to move onto the next chapter in my life.

"I look back very fondly on my twenty years as a player at Surrey, in my opinion the best place to play cricket in the land, and am also very proud to have represented my country. I would like to thank all the coaches, players, supporters and administrative staff that have helped me along the way and made the last twenty years incredibly special."

Butcher played 71 Tests for England, the last of which came against South Africa, in Durban, in 2004 and his career-best was the unbeaten 173 he hit against Australia, at Headingley, in 2001. He later enjoyed a period at No. 3 when he was a key part to England's success under Duncan Fletcher and Michael Vaughan.

In his first-class career Butcher amassed 17,870 runs at 40.70 with a career-best 259. He was also a very useful medium-pace bowler - until his knees started playing up - and captured 125 first-class wickets at 33.89. In one-day cricket he averaged 31.85 but never won an ODI cap for England.

"I had the privilege of touring with Mark in 1999-2000 and I got to see first-hand what a fine batsman he really was," cricket manager Chris Adams said. "I also got a glimpse of the man, and that told me that here was a talented cricketer for sure but a cricketer whose attitude and work ethic were of the highest order.

"In the short time that we have had working together I would like to thank Mark for his contribution in what we are trying to achieve in this new era at Surrey . He has never once let his personal anguish and frustrations with the injury affect his decision making with regards to team affairs and has 100% endorsed the vision and journey that has only just begun."

Butcher's is the second high-profile county retirement in recent days following Andy Caddick's decision to halt his career at the end of the season.