Graeme Swann looked back upon a “great adventure” after bringing his distinguished career to a surprise end.
The off-spinner did not make his Test debut until the age of 29, yet ends with a stunning record having claimed 255 format wickets in just 60 games.
He has also been a fine limited-overs performer, having topped the 20 and 50-over bowling rankings, and was a key part of England’s World Twenty20-winning side.
Swann, who famously ousted Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid in his first Test over, retires as one of the great England spinners – something he hardly thought possible when making his bow.
He told ecb.co.uk: “If someone had told me I would achieve half of what I have in Test cricket, I would not have believed them.
"I feel truly privileged with the amount I have played for England and the personal records I have set; nobody can ever take those away from me.
"It has been a great adventure and I just hope the next person enjoys it as much as I have. There have been some real highs, winning the Ashes three times and the World Twenty20.”
Ultimately, it was fitness that proved the decisive factor in Swann’s decision.
He missed playing time earlier this year due to the need for an elbow operation, after which he came back and led England to a third successive Ashes triumph.
However, Swann concedes that he has not felt right since coming back into the fold – something that ultimately contributed to last night’s announcement.
He added: “It has not been an easy decision but I think it’s the right one. It’s been at the back of my mind for the last 12 months now.
"Since my last elbow operation, I have just never quite felt 100% how I wanted to. I didn’t have the control I wanted so I just think it’s time for someone else to come in and buckle up and enjoy the ride.
“I knew in the first innings at Perth, mulled it over and talked to my wife a lot but nothing changed. My arm is not going to get any better and 50 overs is a lot for a 35-year-old with a dodgy elbow.
“It was a decision that was inevitable really. I wish I could be around for the summer because I think that five-match series against India is going to be huge.”
While Swann can reflect on a series of lofty achievements, he concedes that not being around his long-time team-mates regularly will be a big adjustment.
He admitted: “I will definitely miss the dressing room and camaraderie. It’s been my family for the best part of a decade.
“I know a lot of people miss that but hopefully I will stay in touch with the core group.”
See the best tributes to the retiring spinner by clicking here.