England all-rounder Luke Wright retires from first-class cricket

England all-rounder Luke Wright retires from first-class cricket

"I'm hugely proud of my first-class record."

Luke Wright of Sussex
Luke Wright of Sussex bats. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Former England and Sussex all-rounder Luke Wright has joined the long list of players who are giving up on their red-ball careers to focus more on white ball-cricket. The all-rounder, on Monday, brought down curtains on his first-class career and signed white-ball only extension to his contract. Wright made his first-class debut in 2003 against Leicestershire and overall played 144 first-class games.

He finished his red-ball career with more than 7000 runs with the help of 17 centuries at an average of 38. Wright, who also bowls medium pace, picked up 120 wickets including three five-wicket hauls. Sussex had not named Wright in their squad for their opening County Championship game of 2019. With indication from the club especially head coach Jason Gillespie not very promising, the all-rounder decided to hang his boots in the longer format of the game in order to focus just on the limited-overs career.

The trend of switching to white-ball cricket has been on the rise in recent times. Last year, Adil Rashid and Alex Hales had signed white-ball only deals with their county teams while this year Harry Gurney did the same.

“I worked hard on my red-ball cricket over the winter, but once it became clear that I was going to have a lesser role in the four-day team, it made sense for me to commit my long-term future to the white-ball game only,” Wright was quoted as saying. “I’m hoping to carry on playing for the next five to six years and therefore I’m delighted to be committing my future to Sussex with this contract.”

“I’m hugely proud of my first-class record – it’s something that has often surprised people who think of me as having been a white-ball specialist – and I was lucky to join Sussex under Peter Moores and Chris Adams ahead of a period of unprecedented success for the county,” he added.

Wright played more than 100 international games for England but could not break into the Test team. He was part of the squad that won the World T20 in 2010 but his career soon derailed and he eventually joined a host of players who have become globetrotters, playing in T20 leagues across the world. Wright has already plied his trade in India, Australia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and New Zealand.

Full support for Wright:

Gillespie has said that the all-rounder will have the full support of the team while also insisting that the decision was solely the player’s. “The door has never been closed,” Gillespie told BBC Sussex. “We made that very clear with Luke. This is his decision and and we’re just delighted he’s able to stay with us longer in the shorter forms of the game.”

“He wants to play for a good four or five years yet and feels this is the best way. It’s a sad day because he’s played some wonderful cricket for Sussex but it’s his decision and we’re all fully supportive,” added the former Australia pacer.

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