Stuart Whittingham, the Gloucestershire and Scotland seamer, has been forced into early retirement at the age of 26 due to a back injury.

Whittingham joined Gloucestershire from Sussex in 2018 but has not played a single game for the club due to a persistent back problem, and will retire from the professional game at the end of October.

A right-arm fast-medium bowler from Horsham and a product of Loughborough MCCU, Whittingham dismissed New Zealand opener Hamish Rutherford in both innings on his Sussex debut in 2016, removing him again on his home debut three weeks later. He finished the County Championship season with 18 wickets at 32.00, earning him a new two-year contract.

He qualified for Scotland via his mother, and took three wickets on debut in an unofficial Champions Trophy warm-up match against Sri Lanka at Beckenham. He took eight ODI wickets and three T20I wickets in his brief international career.

"I have taken the decision to retire from professional cricket due to a back injury that I have failed to recover from," Whittingham said. "This decision is not one I've taken lightly but is based on expert medical advice, with the long-term view of my physical wellbeing.

"I'm grateful to Gloucestershire for signing me and am gutted I couldn't repay the faith on the pitch. I want to wish everyone at Gloucestershire all the best for the coming seasons and look forward to taking in the cricket as a fan.

"I also want to say a huge thank you to Gloucestershire's medical team who worked tirelessly to help me get back on the park. It's been a great honour to play professional cricket and I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at both Sussex and Gloucestershire. I have great memories and lasting friendships. I'm excited now to move forward and see what the future holds."

"It is with great sadness that Stuart has been unable to show his abilities that we all know he has due to continued injury," said Richard Dawson, Gloucestershire's head coach.

"Throughout this difficult time Stuart has shown high levels of professionalism and resilience and has been a very popular member of the squad. I'm sure I speak for everyone at the club in wishing him well for the future away from the cricket field."