England all-rounder Zafar Ansari announces shock retirement at 25 | cricket | Hindustan Times
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England all-rounder Zafar Ansari announces shock retirement at 25

England international Zafar Ansari has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket to pursue other career opportunities only six months from making his Test debut.

cricket Updated: Apr 26, 2017 20:23 IST
Zafar Ansari had played three Tests for England against Bangladesh and India but has retired early into his career to pursue other opportunities.
Zafar Ansari had played three Tests for England against Bangladesh and India but has retired early into his career to pursue other opportunities. (Getty Images)

England international Zafar Ansari has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket with immediate effect at the age of 25, just six months on from making his Test debut.

A highly-rated spin-bowling all-rounder, Ansari played three Tests for England last year in Bangladesh and India, after impressing on a consistent basis for his county side, Surrey.

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However, he has now opted to bring an abrupt end to his career in order to pursue other opportunities.

Ansari, who graduated from Cambridge University in 2013 with a double first in Politics, Philosophy and Sociology, explained his retirement in a statement on Surrey’s official website.

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“This has been a very difficult decision to make and I have not made it lightly,” he stated. “I started playing for Surrey at the age of eight and the club has been a hugely important part of my life since then.

“Surrey have always completely supported me and I am extremely grateful to the club for their backing over the years. It is, therefore, with great sadness that I say goodbye.

“Nevertheless, I have always been clear that when the time was right for me to move on I would, and that time has now come. While the timing may come as a surprise, I have always maintained that cricket was just one part of my life and that I have other ambitions that I want to fulfil.

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“With that in mind, I am now exploring another career, potentially in law, and to achieve this I have to begin the process now.”

Ansari, who retires with three first-class hundreds to his name and six five-wicket hauls, had been tipped to shine at the highest level from a young age and progressed through the academy ranks at Surrey.

His Test bow was delayed when a hand injury ruled him out of England’s series with Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates at the end of 2015, the year in which he earned his sole one-day international cap against Ireland.

However, he was called up again at the end of the 2016 county season and went on to make his debut in Bangladesh before playing two further Tests against India.

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Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart, a former England captain, said: “Zafar’s exceptionally tough but considered decision is one that we should all respect and understand.

“To retire at such a young age when his cricket career was progressing very nicely, earning a Test debut against Bangladesh last winter, proves that he has given great thought in deciding to walk away from the professional game.”