Irani led Essex to their first National League title for 20 years in an imperious season where they lost only one match.
His personal batting average may have dropped in the competition but he made up for this with superb individual displays in the County Championship.
He took on extra responsibility for team affairs at the start of the 2005 season after head coach Graham Gooch changed his role to help with commercial matters at the club.
The former all-rounder took over as team captain in 2000 but was forced to concentrate solely on his batting after a long-term knee injury curtailed his medium-pace bowling.
Irani joined Essex from Lancashire in 1994, winning his county cap in the same year, following a productive first season at the club and achieved the double of 1,000 runs and 50 wickets in 1999.
He first played for the England Test side in 1996 and featured intermittently in the one-day side. Irani as a member of England’s 2003 World Cup squad during which he played in two games.
Irani enjoyed outstanding form in 2006 when he scored centuries in each county competition as he captained Essex to the Pro40 Division One title.
Three hundreds in the County Championship left him with a season average of just below 60 in first-class cricket.
Irani turned down a two-year contract extension with Essex in June 2007 and planned to retire at the end of the season. However, his troublesome right knee forced him to quit later that month.