PCA PRESS RELEASE
Eight members announce retirement from all forms of professional cricket.
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On Wednesday 2 October, the 50th NatWest PCA Awards marked the end of an incredible 2019 season on both the international and domestic stages.
Ben Stokes deservedly took home the Reg Hayter Cup for the NatWest PCA Players’ Player of the Year, whilst Tom Banton won the John Arlott Cup for PCA Young Player of the Year and Sophie Ecclestone the NatWest Women’s Player of the Summer.
However, there was also time to thank those PCA members who have dedicated their entire professional careers to cricket and have now decided to hang up their spikes for the final time.
The event programme included tributes to those seven players whilst an entire section of the evening was set apart to thank them for their efforts.
During his pomp in the late noughties, Gambhir was regarded as one of the most complete batsman in world cricket. Equally adept in all three formats of the game, the Delhi-born man was named the ICC Test Player of the Year in 2009, just two years after he played a key role in India’s triumph at the first ever T20 World Cup. He ended up with 42 first-class centuries to his name, including one that came during a five-match spell with Essex in Division Two of the County Championship in 2013.
A bowling all-rounder with a more-than-handy batting record, Hazell appeared for England Women a combined 141 times across all formats. Having appeared in back-to-back Ashes triumphs in 2013-14, the 31-year-old helped to make history by becoming one of the first female recipients of an ECB central contract the following April. It was no surprise, given that her off-spin had helped her to become the world’s number one-ranked bowler in T20Is at the time. Hazell would go on to further international success, being a part of England’s victorious World Cup squad on home soil in 2017. She has also featured for the likes of Yorkshire Diamonds and Lancashire Thunder in the Kia Super League, as well as Melbourne Stars and Adelaide Strikers in Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League.
A genuine innovator of the game, McCullum’s influence on England’s current crop of limited overs players is well-documented. His swashbuckling approach at the top of the order, epitomised during the 2015 World Cup, was the act that Eoin Morgan’s men successfully made it their aim to follow. McCullum’s 19 international hundreds include the fastest Test ton of all time, made in his final match against Australia in 2016. He has had stints at Glamorgan, Sussex, Birmingham Bears and, most recently, Middlesex, where he was a teammate of his good friend, Morgan.
A product of the Glamorgan academy, Murphy made his first-class debut for the side against Cardiff MCCU in 2015. Three years and a great deal of hard work later, he enjoyed something of a breakout season, amassing over 500 County Championship runs at the top of the order for Glamorgan in 2018, including a career best 80 against Kent. Had it not been for a recurring knee injury which sadly ended his career at the age of just 23, he would have made many more than the 669 career first-class runs and three wickets he celebrated.
Since making his debut in May 2011, Riley has claimed 128 first-class wickets at 37.31 apiece, as well as five five-wicket hauls. His return of 48 wickets in the 2014 season was impressive for such a young spinner as he was then, and it subsequently earned Riley a place on the England Lions tour to South Africa that winter. Had it not been for a muscle tear around the same time, it is likely that the Sidcup-born man would’ve continued his progression further up the ranks. Riley leaves Kent after an unbroken eight-year spell with the Division One club.
Smith’s 17-year first-class career has been one of numerous ups and downs. It began at Nottinghamshire, where he broke into the County Championship-winning side at the age of just 22 in 2005. A succession of injuries hampered his progress but then, having left Trent Bridge for Durham, Smith roared back to score 925 runs at 51.38 and help his new side claim their maiden Championship in 2008. The captaincy and another title followed a year later, before Smith repeated the feat once more in 2013. Having spent four years at Hampshire between 2014-18, Smith returned to Chester-le-Street to see out the final days of his playing career with the county that brought him so much success.
Tavaré became just the eighth Gloucestershire player to score a first-class hundred on debut when he achieved the feat against Hampshire in 2014. Bristol born and bred, he subsequently spent his entire playing career with the team that gave him his very first opportunity. Tavaré’s finest season came in 2014, when centuries against Essex, Derbyshire and Kent helped him to over 1,000 first-class runs in the calendar year. Injuries have since limited his appearances, but he nevertheless finishes his career with a respectable first-class average of 32 and six hundreds to his name.
Appearing for Somerset for the final time at the age of 43, Trescothick is a true legend of the English game. A remarkable career spanning 27 years has seen the left-hander send innumerable county attacks to all parts, picking up the PCA Player of the Year award on three occasions – a joint record – in the process. ‘Tres’ also enjoyed a seven-year stint as the first name on the England team sheet at the top of the order, earning an MBE following the national side’s memorable 2005 Ashes triumph – arguably the greatest success of his playing career. Off the pitch, Trescothick has become something of a figurehead in raising awareness of mental health issues in sport. He has been a Director of the Professional Cricketers’ Trust since July 2016.