London: Sussex's legendary former Pakistan international spinner Mushtaq Ahmed confirmed Wednesday that he has been forced to retire because of a persistent knee injury.
Mushtaq won three county championships, a C&G Trophy and the Totesport Division Two title with Sussex but after a season plagued by injury problems, he has decided to call it a day.
The 38-year-old has been one of the driving forces behind the county's success during his six years at Hove - taking 598 wickets in all competitions.
"I am going to miss playing for the club greatly," said Mushtaq, who last competed for his country in 2003.
"I would firstly like to thank Allah for providing me with this great family. This is a very hard decision for me to make, as I feel that I could possibly play one more year, but out of respect, I would only do that if I felt 100 percent and I wouldn't want to risk that for the family.
"I am truly honoured to have spent six wonderful years here.
"My love, my feelings and my heart will always be with Sussex and I will always pray to Allah for continued success at Sussex."
Club captain Chris Adams said: "Mushtaq's legacy at the club is that he leaves us statistically, romantically and emotionally the best player to ever pull on a Sussex shirt.
"In view of the impact he's made, it's difficult to think of another cricketer who has achieved or done more for one county. His legacy extends beyond the playing arena, as I'm sure all that have been graced by his presence will agree. He is simply a great man."
Mark Robinson, the county's cricket manager, added: "I don't think that it will ever be possible to overplay the enormous influence Mushtaq has had on Sussex in recent years.
"His record as a player and the trophies that he has helped us win will speak for itself, but I would like to pay tribute to him as a person from myself and all the people whose lives he has touched for the enormous influence he has had on us."