London: Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan retired from all forms of professional cricket on Tuesday.
He departs as England's most successful Test captain of all time - with 26 wins from his 51 matches in charge. As a batsman, he scored 18 Test hundreds for England following his debut in 1999 and was ranked the number one batsman in the world following the 2002-03 Ashes in Australia in which he made 633 runs including three centuries.
In a statement issued on the occasion, Vaughan said: "After a great deal of consideration, I''ve decided that now is the right time to retire from cricket. It has been an enormous privilege to have played for and captained my country and this is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make. Having played almost non-stop for 16 seasons, I feel that the time is right for the focus to shift to the next generation. We have some fantastic talent coming through the English counties and, with the next Ashes series upon us, now is the time for the younger players to rise to the challenge of building on the success achieved in English cricket in the last few years."
"I'd like to record my sincere thanks to the England fans and the ECB and the members and supporters of Yorkshire County Cricket Club for their unstinting backing throughout my career as well as my wife Nicola and the rest of my family who have been equally supportive. I''m also extremely grateful to all of the players, managers, coaches, media and administrators I''ve worked with, who have all contributed to making my career so enjoyable and fulfilling," he added.
ECB chief executive David Collier said: "Everyone associated with cricket in England and Wales will be forever grateful to Michael Vaughan for his immense contribution to the England team''s success. His achievement in leading England to victory against the number one ranked team in the world, Australia in 2005, was arguably the finest by any England captain in the modern era."
Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, said: "As an international captain Michael ranks among the very best and the way in which he and Duncan Fletcher forged a team capable of winning six consecutive Test series stands as testament to his ability to inspire and motivate those around him. He was also a marvellous ambassador for England cricket off-the-field as well as on it and someone who genuinely appreciated the generous support he received from the thousands of England supporters who follow the team at home and abroad. No-one who saw his magnificent hundreds in Australia in 2002-03 will forget the contribution he made to the team as a batsman either - he will be rightly remembered as a player of the highest class."
England''s captain, Andrew Strauss said: "I count Michael as a good friend as well as a team-mate and I know what a tough decision this will have been for him as he took so much pleasure and pride in representing his country. I learned a great deal from watching him captain the side for five years at close hand and his ability to identify a new strategy for outwitting the opposition or bring the best out of his own players was a priceless asset."