It’s with enormous sadness, but with equal pride, that I am announcing my retirement from professional cricket.

Tomorrow will be my final red ball game and next week I’ll play my final T20 match. It’s true when they say you know when the time’s right, and unfortunately, my time is now.

While my hunger and enthusiasm for the sport I love remain as strong as ever, my body simply can’t keep up with the demands of the game to the standard of which I expect of myself.

It’s been an absolute privilege and honour to fulfil my boyhood dream of playing for both England and Warwickshire. As a child, to play just once for either would have been enough for me, but to do so for the past 22 years is more than I could have ever wished for.

To have been part of an England Test team to reach number one in the world, to win five Ashes Series, one of which as Player of the Series, and an away Series in India is some return for a young lad who simply dreamt of batting at Edgbaston.

I count myself lucky for many things, but to have shared these experiences with the group of guys I did is something I’m very grateful for.

I’ve been fortunate enough to share dressing rooms with not just the very best players in the world, but the very best guys.

At Club level, to have spent my entire career and won trophies with my boyhood club is something both myself and my family are enormously proud of. To everyone associated with the club; the staff, players, fans and anyone I’ve worked with during this time: thank you.

I recently signed a contract extension to continue playing for the Bears, but I couldn’t disrespect the club I love by being unable to play to the level they deserve. Farby, Stuart and the whole team have been hugely understanding with my decision and I’m very grateful of their support.

I would also like to thank the overseas Franchises I had the privilege of playing for too: Perth Scorchers, Islamabad United and Dhaka Dynamites.

Winning The Big Bash with the Scorchers was one of the highlights of my career, while the friends and experiences I had of playing in the PSL and BPL will stay with me forever.

There are too many names of people I need to thank for all the help, guidance and support I’ve received throughout my career, and I’m looking forward to having a drink with each and every one of you as soon as possible, but I can’t finish this without thanking my amazing wife, Chantal, my wonderful children, Joseph and Jesse, and my unwaveringly supportive parents. I love you all.

Finally though, thank you to all the cricket fans for the most unbelievable support I’ve had throughout my career.

I have big coaching ambitions so I’ll hopefully continue to be heavily involved in the game, but in the meantime I’m looking forward to chatting cricket and enjoying a drink with you as part of The Barmy Army.

Belly x