London: England batsman Graham Thorpe spoke on Tuesday of his decision to pull out of this winter's Ashes tour describing it as "the hardest decision of my career."
In a statement released by his county Surrey, the 33-year-old said he had found it difficult to focus on his playing career as continues to recover from his marriage break-up. "I have informed the selectors that I wish to withdraw from the tour to Australia," Thorpe said in the statement. "During the six weeks away from the game my personal situation did improve and I felt that I was able to make myself available for the tour. "Since returning to the game I have found it difficult to consistently concentrate on cricket and I must be totally focused for the tour. "I therefore feel it is better to be honest with the England cricket team, the management, and myself now, rather than during the Ashes tour." His tangled private life, as well as a constant battle against a back injury, has meant that Thorpe has only completed one full touring programme out of the past five. "It would be wrong for me to go to Australia purely for the financial gain that it would bring me whilst I am finding it difficult to fully focus on the job in hand 100% of the time. "This has been the hardest decision of my cricket career. I ask that I may be given the respect and privacy required so that I may recover to play cricket at highest level next season." Surrey chief executive Paul Sheldon, "It is best for everyone concerned that a final decision over this winter's tour has been made now. We will continue to do everything we can to help Graham through this very difficult time. "Surrey is his cricketing home and we will be in very close touch throughout the winter."
After all the assurance, Thorpe pulls out of Ashes tour