Clay Smith turns away after being dismissed by Chaminda Vaas in his last innings for Bermuda © Getty Images
Clay Smith has ended weeks of speculation by announcing his retirement.

Smith, rated by many as the best batsman produced by Bermuda, represented his country for more than 18 years, although he was past his best by the time Bermuda started playing full ODIs. He also suffered from injury in recent years, and that affected his form.

Smith, who initially played his club cricket for St.George's before moving to St David's as player/coach, represented Bermuda in four ICC Trophies as well as the recently-completed World Cup. In 1997-98, the second year of Bermuda's participation in the Red Stripe Cup in the West Indies, he made hundreds against Windward Islands and Jamaica.

He also stood out from the start of the ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2004, and in 2005 he scored back-to-back first-class hundreds against Cayman Islands and Kenya. Smith captained the side until the end of 206 when his increasing absences through injury led to the selectors replacing him.

"It has been my dream for as long as I can remember to play in the World Cup, and having achieved that there is simply nothing else for me to accomplish or to prove as a player," Smith wrote in a letter to the board. "It has taken some time for me to make up my mind simply because I do not believe in giving my place to a youngster, but rather making him earn it as I had to do when I first came into international cricket. So for me to step down like this is tough, but in my heart I know I am doing the right thing and at the right time."

Smith has now started coaching at club level. "As a cricketer it is now my intention to make sure that I give back to this wonderful sport that I so love," he said. "Bermuda has some talented youngsters and I will do all I can to help improve them and nurture them along."