Connor announces retirement
England women’s captain, Clare Connor has announced her retirement from international cricket after six years of leading her country.
Connor said: "After a decade of playing for England and six years leading the side, I have come to the decision to retire from International cricket.
“I have spent the last six months undergoing an agonising decision-making process and actually penning these words is the hardest moment of it all.”
Connor played a total of 93 one-day internationals and 16 Test matches in a career that spanned just over ten years.
The Sussex player made her ODI debut against Denmark in Dublin in 1995 and her final limited-over match was against fiercest rivals Australia in Taunton in 2005.
She scored five half-centuries throughout her one-day career and her highest score was 85 not out against South Africa in 2005.
She took 80 wickets in 93 one-day internationals and one five-wicket haul against India in Northampton in 1999.
Her Test debut was against India in 1995 and her last was the momentous Ashes win in August 2005.
She took over the captaincy in February 2000 during the series against New Zealand and her final series was against Australia in 2005. As captain she won five series.
In 2004 she was awarded an MBE for her services to women’s cricket and then in 2005 she was awarded an OBE for her services to sport.
She took a two-year sabbatical from teaching at Brighton College to focus on her cricket and worked extensively in the cricket media.
She will return to teaching English and PE and will head up Brighton College’s PR department.
Connor continued: “I have fulfilled the dream I had as a young girl: I have played for my country, led my country and we have won the Ashes.
“I firmly believe that women's cricket in this country, at every level, is in the healthiest state it has ever been in and I am so proud to have played a part in that success and rise in profile.
“Whilst it has never been my job, playing for my country has been my life.
"With the Ashes now back in their rightful home at Lords, I feel it is the right time for me to turn to pastures new and for my successor to take the team, a wonderful team, to the next level.
“It has been the greatest privilege to have played with the players I have played with, and it has been an incredible and unforgettable journey. I have learnt more about life from the highs and lows of cricket than from anything else.
“The most powerful lesson I have learnt is that winning is not the only beacon for success, although it certainly helps, especially when you have lost to Australia for 42 years!
“What I will take away from my time playing sport at this level is that success is about perseverance, it is about honesty, it is about learning from disappointments, it is about being brave and it is about picking yourself and those around you up when you don't think you can.
“There can never be a greater feeling than pulling on an England shirt, strong in the knowledge that the team is ready and can achieve anything.
“I would like to thank every single person who has made that the reality of the last ten years: from my parents, to the coaches I had as a girl, to all at the ECB, to our sponsors Vodafone, to the many management teams I have worked with, to the physios that have kept me in one piece, to the current England coach Richard Bates, and to my inspirational team-mates."
England Head Coach Richard Bates said: “This has obviously been a very difficult decision for Clare to make as playing for England has been her life for the past 10 years.
“She has played a huge part in the progress we have made in recent years and will of course be missed in the England camp both on and off the field.
“It has been a pleasure to work alongside Clare over the past three years; the highlight of course was her leading us to Ashes victory in the summer.”
Current vice-captain Charlotte Edwards has been named as Connor’s successor to the captaincy, after leading England on their winter tour of Sri Lanka and India.
Edwards stated: “It is a great honour for me to be asked to captain my country and something I will do with great pride. It is something I have always dreamed of and will relish the role.
“We will all miss Clare as she was such an inspirational leader, but we must now look to the future and take women’s cricket to the next level.”
Executive Director for Women’s Cricket Gill McConway said: “Clare Connor has been a wonderful ambassador and captain for England. She will be very much missed on and off the field by her colleagues and everyone involved in the game.
Clare took over the captaincy when England was at its lowest and through her inspiration, dedication and love for the game she helped build the England side and team ethics to what it is today.
“I wish her the very best of happiness and success in her new world outside of cricket.
“England is most fortunate to have someone of Charlotte Edwards’s talent and leadership skills to take over the reigns.
“I have every confidence that Charlotte will do a wonderful job in leading England to the next World Cup challenge in 2009.”
Bates finished: “We are delighted that Charlotte has accepted the captaincy. Charlotte has all the credentials needed to be a successful captain and has proven when she has stepped in to cover for Clare that she has what it takes to get the best out of her team mates.
“She has a very good understanding of the game and I’m sure she will take us to the next level.”