Robin Smith has announced he will retire from first-class cricket at the end of the season. Smith cited injury problems for his decision to leave Hampshire after 22 years.
He said today: "I feel now is the right time to go although I know I shall miss cricket badly. I find it difficult to get over injuries as quickly as I did and at my age I am not going to get any better." In his benefit year at Hampshire, Smith has played 10 Championship games this season, scoring 522 runs at an average of 37.28. He added: "I've enjoyed every minute of the last 23 years and I thank Hampshire for the support that has enabled me to achieve my ambition to playing till the age of 40."
Rod Bransgrove, Hampshire's chairman, said: "In my opinion, Robin Smith has been the most influential player in the history of Hampshire cricket. Besides winning many, many matches, he has also won the hearts and minds of Hampshire supporters everywhere. I fully understand and respect Robin's decision to retire from playing and I look forward to working with him in the second phase of his career with Hampshire Cricket."
Speculation was rife that Smith was going to call it a day after he tore his hamstring two weeks ago. He said: "There is some talking to be done about my future. If one is realistic about me having played my last game then you could think along those lines." He added that he still hoped to play in Hampshire's final National League match, against Derbyshire on September 21.
Smith, who is 40 on September 13, has scored 18,984 runs for Hampshire and scored 49 first-class hundreds in 307 matches. He played in 62 Tests for England between 1988 and 1996, scoring 4236 runs at 43.67, and 71 ODIs.