What's the story?
Zafar Ansari, the England all-rounder has announced his retirement from international cricket at the age of 25. The left-handed batsman and the slow left-arm orthodox bowler made his international debut last year in the second Test against Bangladesh in October and played a total of three Test matches including the first two Tests of England's tour India – held in Rajkot and Visakhapatnam.
Admitting that this decision may come as a surprise to some, the 25-year-old admitted to having other goals in life, distanced from the realms of cricket. “With that in mind, I am now exploring another career, potentially in law, and to achieve this I have to begin the process now,” Ansari said.
In case you didn't know
He made his ODI debut against Ireland in 2015, and it remained as the only ODI of his international cricketer. He was called up to the England squad ahead of the Tests against Pakistan in 2015, but sustained a thumb injury right before the series and was hence ruled out.
The heart of the matter
“After seven years as a professional cricketer and almost two decades in total playing the game, I have decided to bring my cricket career to an end. This has been a very difficult decision to make and I have not made it lightly.
“I started playing for Surrey at the age of eight, and the club has been a hugely important part of my life since then. Surrey have always completely supported me and I am extremely grateful to the club for their backing over the years. It is, therefore, with great sadness that I say goodbye.”
The cricketer was thoughtful and considerate before taking such a big call so early in his career but did not flinch before taking the call as he has always known as to when the right time to move on is.
“Nevertheless, I have always been clear that when the time was right for me to move on I would, and that time has now come. While the timing may come as a surprise, I have always maintained that cricket was just one part of my life and that I have other ambitions that I want to fulfill.”
Ansari, who made his first-class debut for Cambridge University against Essex in 2011, would bow out with a small distinction of having Alastair Cook as his first first-class wicket. In 71 first-class matches, Ansari scored 3009 runs at 29.79 and picked up 128 wickets at 35.87.
He thanked his county club, Surrey, and mentioned that he relished playing first-class cricket as well as Test cricket for England.
“I will look back extremely fondly on playing with some wonderful teams and having the opportunity to perform in front of the best crowds in county cricket at the Kia Oval.
“Equally, to have played three Test matches for England was a huge honour and it is something I will undoubtedly savour for the rest of my life. Most of all, I will miss the people with whom I have shared my career and I cherish the relationships that I've formed along the way.
“I would like to thank Surrey and its fans for the way they have supported and encouraged me over the last 17 years. I am now looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life, but I know that Surrey will always feel like a home to me,” he concluded.
While cricketers pride themselves at being given the opportunity to represent their countries or clubs, an individual's career choice must at all times be respected. Hence, for a learned youngster like Ansari, this new chapter in life should come as a fresh move.
We at Sportskeeda wish the cricketer all the best for his future endeavours and hope that he does as well in his targetted disciplines as he has done in competitive cricket.