DERBYSHIRE CCC captain Luke Sutton has announced his shock retirement from first-class cricket.
The decision comes in the wake of an exhausting 2011 season after which Derbyshire’s wicketkeeper-batsman and club captain sought treatment for depression and anxiety.
The 35-year-old, who has also played for Somerset and Lancashire, said: “I have been aware for some time that I have problems with certain aspects of my mental health. I have always pushed myself to the limit but I reached a point that it was having an adverse affect on my relationships with my family and colleagues, and my health in general.
“Although as a professional sportsman it is extremely embarrassing to admit to a weakness, I’m proud to have found the strength of character to seek treatment, enabling me now to feel extremely positive about my future.
“I’ve had a brilliant time over my 14 years in the game, and a number of other important reasons have led me to decide to retire. In addition to concerns about my own health, my two-year-old daughter has recently been diagnosed with diabetes and the growing success and, therefore, pressure of my business has forced me to take a long look at my future. I’ve recently undergone hand surgery which has also played its part in this decision.”
Praising his squad and club members for their support, he added: “I have thought long and hard about this decision, and I know it is for the best of the club. I genuinely don’t feel I would be able to fulfil my position at the club to the level that I know is required. I have great affection for Derbyshire CCC and I wish the club every success for the future.”
Sutton appeared in 176 first-class matches, 167 List A games and 30 t20s. He made a career-best 151 not out against Yorkshire in 2006 and captained Derbyshire in four of his six years with the club, taking them from bottom of the pile in 2010 to a much-improved showing and fifth place in Division Two last term.
Derbyshire chairman Chris Grant said: “Luke’s retirement was unexpected but we respect his decision and thank him for his efforts during his two spells with Derbyshire.
“With the changes that were made at the club during the 2011 season, we appreciate it was a testing year for Luke, and on a personal level I would like to thank him for his loyal support. I speak for everybody connected with the club in saying that I wish Luke all the very best in his continued recovery.”