Test Match Sofa
Tributes pour in as McGrath retires
By Graham Hardcastle
Yorkshire and former England batting all-rounder Anthony McGrath has been forced to retire due to a thumb injury sustained last summer, bringing down the curtain on a prolific 17-year career. The 37-year-old debuted in 1995.
McGrath, currently undertaking his coaching badges, scored 14,698 runs in 257 first-class matches, including four Tests, and took 134 wickets. His haul of 34 centuries included a career-best 211 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 2009.
He also scored 7,574 runs from 296 List A matches, including seven centuries, and took 83 wickets. Of those 296 matches, 14 were one-day internationals. The Bradford-born right-hander also added 1,403 runs and 23 wickets from 66 Twenty20 matches, the last of those coming in July 2011.
McGrath made his Test debut against Zimbabwe at Lord's in May of 2003 in the same match as Jimmy Anderson. He also captained Yorkshire in 2003 and 2009.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to have represented Yorkshire throughout my professional career,” said McGrath, a winner of the County Championship in 2001 and the C&G Trophy in 2002.
“I have been involved with this great club every summer since I was 12 and it is going to be difficult not having the opportunity to play again.
“I would like to thank the club, the members and the all the coaches for their help throughout my career. Above all else, my last word goes to my team-mates, who I have shared the greatest of times with over the past 20 years. I have met some great people that have become my closest of friends.”
Yorkshire director of professional cricket Martyn Moxon said: "Anthony McGrath has been a great servant to Yorkshire. It has been a privilege to play with and coach Anthony. He has given every ounce of blood, sweat and tears to the county and his role within the dressing room will be sadly missed.
“He is the perfect role model for any aspiring junior wanting to be the best they can be. The way he inspires those around him is his distinct quality. I would like to wish him well in the future and hope that he will continue his connection to the club through his coach education qualifications and programme.”
Yorkshire’s executive chairman Colin Graves said: “On behalf of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, I’d like to personally thank Anthony McGrath for his magnificent contribution not only to Yorkshire but to the game of cricket as a whole.
“He has represented the county with honour and distinction and will be regarded as one of the club's most respected professionals in the last 25 years.
“Anthony was a wonderful ambassador for Yorkshire cricket off the field as well as on it. I wish him every success in the future and hope that he continues to take more than a passing interest in the fortunes of the club.”
Captain Andrew Gale added: "I count Anthony as a good friend as well as a team-mate and I know what a tough decision this will have been for him as he took so much pleasure and pride in representing Yorkshire.
"I learned a great deal from playing alongside Mags. He was a great player, who had the ability to score important innings at crucial times in matches. The biggest thing I will miss will be his presence in the dressing room. He was a great pro, who had an infectious personality that always brought the best out of the other players in the team. He will be missed by everyone connected with the team, and we wish him every success in his future career."
It was not always sweetness and light for McGrath at Yorkshire. He nearly left ahead of the 2007 season having become disillusioned with the direction the county was taking. It was only when Moxon returned as coach, replacing David Byas, and Darren Gough became captain that he agreed to stay.
But McGrath’s ability to score runs at crucial times, which Gale alluded to, continued into his final season as Yorkshire chased promotion back to the Championship’s top flight. He scored two centuries and a superb unbeaten 76 in a tight run chase against Gloucestershire at Scarborough in late August, a match they had to win to keep alive their hopes of going up.
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