Two county stalwarts - Yorkshire batsman Joe Sayers and Worcestershire left-arm seamer David Lucas - have announced their retirements from the game ahead of the 2014 season despite both having time left to run on their contracts.
Sayers began his career with Yorkshire after graduating from Oxford University with a degree in Physics and played junior football for Bradford United before deciding on a career in cricket.
A man well-liked in the county game, he will leave Yorkshire after two poor seasons where he averaged only 15.85 from 10 LV= County Championship matches. In truth, he has never really rediscovered his best form since suffering from Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome in 2010. It was a huge setback, coming immediately after his best year in 2009 when he averaged almost 43 in first-class cricket and received a call-up to the England Lions side to play the touring Australians.
Over the past couple of seasons, the 30 year-old has been more of a back-up member of Yorkshire’s first-eleven and was given the task of writing the season diary for 2013 - the club’s 150th anniversary. It has been well-received and perhaps provides an indication of where his post-playing career may lie.
Sayers said of his time at Headingley: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a professional cricketer with Yorkshire. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody associated with the Club, in particular the supporters, and I wish the lads all the best for the 2014 season.”
Colin Graves, chairman of Yorkshire CCC added: “Joe is a great guy and I would like to thank him for his contribution over the last few years and wish him well in the future.”
Overall, Sayers leaves the first-class game with 5457 runs at an average of 33.07, a tally which includes a spell playing for Oxford University at the start of the millennium. He amassed nine centuries with his top score of 187 coming against Kent at Tunbridge Wells in 2007 and is one of only seven Yorkshire cricketers to have carried his bat more than once. Never really suited to the shorter forms of the game, he nevertheless has a further 847 runs to show for his efforts there.
Lucas, meanwhile, leaves the county game after spells at four counties. The 35 year-old was given the unwelcome news that his opportunities for Worcestershire would be limited in 2014 and decided to cancel the final year of his contract.
He said: “I’d like to thank everybody at Worcestershire for the last few years and their understanding in reaching this decision, and I would like to wish them well for the future.
“I’m very much looking forward to continuing my business, Pristine Clean, along with progressing my coaching opportunities and spending more time with my wife and family.”
County director of cricket Steve Rhodes added: “Everybody at the club would like to wish Dave and his family all the best in his life outside of cricket and he will always be welcome at New Road in the future.”
Lucas epitomised the very idea of the loyal county servant during his career; providing a stern test for young upcoming potential England batsmen without ever really being considered for higher honours himself.
He began at Nottinghamshire in 1999 before joining Yorkshire briefly for 2005. The most productive part of his career was with Northamptonshire, where he enjoyed his best season in 2009, garnering 60 first-class wickets at an average of 21.65. Solid seasons followed in 2010 and 2011 before he joined Worcestershire to lead their young attack alongside Alan Richardson.
He leaves the game with a respectable haul of 264 wickets at the average of 32.43 in first-class cricket, as well as his tally of 117 wickets from 115 limited-overs games.
© Cricket World 2014