North retires after superb Shield season

Australia

Former Australia batsman Marcus North has retired from domestic cricket at the age of 34, just weeks after ending the Sheffield Shield season with an average over 60, and leading Western Australia to the final.

Former Australia batsman Marcus North has retired from domestic cricket at the age of 34, just weeks after ending the Sheffield Shield season with an average over 60, and leading Western Australia to the final.

North enjoyed his most successful domestic season to date, and then decided that he would end on a high. He did not rule out playing in the Big Bash LEague, but said he would be focusing on his family and business dealings in the UK.

North, who played 21 Tests for Australia, the last of which in 2010, said on Thursday: "I felt it was the right time to move on, in many ways, from family reasons through to the way I feel about my cricket at the moment.

"I really enjoyed arguably one of the best seasons in my career, but it's exhausting and I've got to the stage now where it's a big effort to maintain that over a season.

"When the times get tough and you feel that you're not going to be able to drag yourself out of it, well I've always said that's about time to move on and that's how I feel.

"The guys are in a really good place now and you're starting to see the influence of Justin [Langer, the WA coach] and his coaching group coming through. We're playing a tougher brand of cricket now and there's a tougher attitude within the group.

"It's their journey now and it's time for them to enjoy that. It's a huge bonus [to go out on my own terms] and I'm just so grateful to get another opportunity this year after last year and I'm thrilled I made the most of it.

"It would have been a fairytale finish to win a final as well, but to play in one is special to me as well. It reflects the cricket we played all year."

Former WA skipper, and former Australia batsman Langer was impressed with the way North had come back from various hardships, including the death of his brother last year, and found it interesting that the retirement came just as North had found what he'd long been searching for.

Langer said: "You always judge a person's character by the way they come back from adversity and Marcus relinquished the captaincy, he was dropped from the Warriors last year and then to come back and have a standout season is a real credit to his character.

"Marcus was my vice-captain for about three years and took over from me as captain. Playing together, I always appreciated his talent and, while he would be the first to admit that he was always striving for consistency in his career, when he was on, he was a magnificent player to watch.

"Looking back on his career – and we've spoken a lot about this, firstly when together and now since coaching – he's always been striving for that consistency and the irony is that, now, in what has become his last year, he's probably found that formula which works so brilliantly."

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