London: Somerset and former England batsman Mark Lathwell announced he was leaving the county on Tuesday, a move which appeared to bring the curtain down on a career which had promised much but failed to live up to expectations.
The club said Lathwell, 30, would not be taking up the last two years of a three- year contract, which ends in September 2003. In a statement issued by Somerset, Lathwell said, "The club is overstaffed and I could not see a way forward of playing regular first team cricket, which I found to be an increasing strain to play in anyway. "Rather than sit out my contract it seemed to make sense to start thinking ahead about a career outside professional cricket." Retirement at 30 seemed highly unlikely eight years ago when Lathwell was being hailed as the best young batsman in the country. He made his Test debut in 1993 as England, receiving yet another Ashes hiding from Australia, drafted him in for the third Test at Trent Bridge. A natural, wristy player, he failed to make much of an impression there or indeed in the next Test at Headingley, appearing overawed by the whole atmosphere of international cricket. Those were the only Tests he played, Lathwell joining a long list of England cricketers who were quickly discarded soon after they had been first selected. Apart from one successful county campaign in 1994, his form was never the same again. He struggled to hold down a place in the Somerset 1st XI even when fit and his cause was not helped by injuries which saw him sidelined for most of the 1999 and 2000 campaigns. In his two Tests Lathwell made 78 runs at 19.50 while in a 10-year long first-class career he scored 8,727 runs at 33.43 including twelve hundreds.
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