Sutton calls it quits
Derbyshire captain Luke Sutton has retired from professional cricket, aged 35, having sought treatment for depression and anxiety since the end of the season.
The wicketkeeper-batsman, who finishes the second of two spells with Derbyshire, explained his decision was in part due to mental health problems but also other factors.
Sutton began his senior career with Somerset, making his first-class debut in 1997, before representing Derbyshire from 2000 to 2005. He played for Lancashire from 2006 to 2010 but returned to the County Ground where he was soon appointed skipper, a position he had held in 2004 and 2005.
In all, Sutton appeared in 176 first-class, 167 List A and 30 Twenty20 games. He scored 9,742 runs, took 664 catches and 63 stumpings. The right-hander’s career-best total was 151 not out during a Roses match with Yorkshire in the 2006 Liverpool Victoria County Championship.
“I have been aware for some time that I have problems with certain aspects of my mental health,” Sutton, who spoke to ecb.co.uk in September, said.
“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. Upon reflection, and although a difficult decision, it is the right time to move on.”
Sutton, who studied at Millfield School and Durham University, helped Derbyshire rise from bottom of the LV= County Championship in 2010 to fifth in Division Two this year despite John Morris’ shock departure as director of cricket a month into the season.
”I have made some incredible friends in the game.“ Sutton added. “I thank each and every one of them for making it a genuinely amazing experience.
“In particular I’d like to thank the squad and members at Derbyshire for their great support and encouragement during my time at the club.
“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.”
“I’d like to thank everyone I’ve shared a field with over the past decade or so. I now look forward to the next chapter of my working life with Activate Sport and also spending more time with my wife Jude and twins Albie and Amelie.
“I will be making no further comment for now as I need to focus on my recovery, my family and my new life after cricket and I would ask that everyone respect my privacy and allow me and my family the time and distance that we need. As soon as I’m ready, I will talk further about my experiences.”
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 and in his future endeavours with Activate Sport.
“Having consulted with (head coach) Karl Krikken, we will be announcing Luke's successor as club captain in the next few days and preparations for the 2012 season continue as planned.”