Surrey all-rounder Rikki Clarke has announced that he will retire from competitive cricket at the end of the season, after more than 20 years in the game – during which he has taken just shy of 800 wickets and scored nearly 18,000 runs in all competitions.
“When I started as a professional back in 2000 I could have only dreamt of the career that was to follow,” said Clarke in a statement issued today.
“Making my List A debut in 2001 and first-class debut in 2002 started my long journey in the professional game. A particular highlight will always be my ODI and Test debuts in 2003.
“To represent my country 22 times can never be taken away and memories that I will look back on with immense pride. Of course I would have loved to have played more, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
“I have played with and against some amazing cricketers throughout my 22 seasons and amongst them made some friends for life.
“To Surrey and Warwickshire I thank you for the amazing times and the success that I was able to experience while wearing your badges. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of successful teams and to win all the domestic trophies two-three times over.
“To Derbyshire, I thank for the opportunity to captain an amazing county and I only wish things could have turned out differently.
“Thank you to everyone that has supported me over the last 21 years. I hope I have entertained you and left a fondness in your hearts of a player that you loved to watch and someone who gave everything for the badge.”
Alec Stewart, Surrey’s director of cricket, who played five times alongside Clarke, added: “Firstly, I’d like to say congratulations to Rikki on an incredible career in the professional game. He should be very proud of his years of excellent service to the county game as well as the 22 international caps he earned.
“There is no greater honour than representing your country and we were delighted at Surrey that we were able to help him realise those ambitions earlier in his career.
“I first met Rikki when I awarded him with the Player of the Course pennant as a nine-year-old on the 10-week Nescafe training course with Surrey. Years later, he briefly became a team-mate of mine as I approached the end of my playing days and his talent was evident to all in that dressing room.
“When the opportunity arose to bring him back to the Oval in 2017, I didn’t hesitate. It proved to be an excellent move as both on and off the field he has been an integral part of the first team squad in the years since, including his outstanding performances throughout the 2018 County Championship winning season.
“This year has been Rikki’s testimonial and while it’s been difficult for him logistically due to the restrictions on events, we knew it was very important for the club to recognise his contribution to Surrey and the wider game.
“Thank you Rikki for all of your efforts to add to the history of this great club and I wish you all the best with your future endeavours. You’ll always be welcome at the Kia Oval.”
PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD
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