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Martin Saggers to retire at the end of the season

Monday 14th September 2009

Kent County Cricket Club today announced that bowler Martin Saggers (pictured)is to retire from First Class cricket at the end of the season. The 37-year-old has failed to recover from a serious knee injury picked up in early August.

Saggers made his debut in 1999 and was a popular and whole hearted player throughout his 11 seasons with the Club. He went on to play in 119 First Class matches, taking 415 wickets at an average of 25.33. He recorded personal best figures of 7-79 for Kent against Durham at Riverside in 2000. He played in three Test matches for England, taking seven wickets and also took a wicket with his first delivery in Test Cricket on English soil.

Commenting on Martin’s immense contribution, Chairman of Cricket, Graham Johnson, said: "It is always sad when a player comes to the end of a career. Kent owes Martin a great deal, especially during a period when he was our seam attack. Quite rightly, on the basis of this success, he received recognition at international level. Always enthusiastic and positive during his career, he will carry these qualities into his plans for what follows after cricket. I hope supporters continue to back his well earned benefit and we look forward to continuing to see him around the Club.

Talking to the official website, Martin added: "I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing First Class cricket. It was great fun with Kent and obviously I wouldn’t have played for England if I hadn’t impressed with my county side. Along the way, we came close to winning the County Championship on several occasions. I have played with some great cricketers over the years and it was pleasing to win the National League in 2001 and the Twenty20 Cup in 2007. It is disappointing to finish my playing career through injury because I believe that I was still bowling well enough to have continued playing for a season or two more. Still, I have been fortunate enough to play the game for close on 15 years as a professional cricketer and have many happy memories."

Martin has been a key part of many successful Kent sides and has played with some great cricketers over the years: "Throughout my time at Kent, there have been numerous cricketers that I have played alongside and against, some of which are the greatest in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed being in the same Kent side as people like Steve Waugh, Rahul Dravid and Muttiah Muralitharan. They are greats of the game and we all learnt so much by spending time in the dressing room with them. It was good just watching and seeing how they went about the various challenges."

And what stands out in terms of career statistics? "I enjoyed a number of career highlights with Kent. Finishing as leading wicket taker in the country, in 2002, was a huge honour. I took 83 First Class wickets, 111 in all competitions; it was one of those seasons that you are unlikely to forget. I then got the opportunity to represent England in three Test Matches and got a wicket with my first delivery in Test cricket on English soil. That was a real highlight and a memory, which I will always cherish. In terms of my cricketing career, I would say that was the pinnacle.”

Martin enjoyed a great career as a First Class cricketer but took the game up fairly late: "Having started at village cricket level, I hadn’t even thought of ever playing professionally, so to go right through the different standards and to finally represent England was great for me and my family. The Kent members have been great to me, right throughout my career, and they support me well. I“ve always enjoyed bowling, especially at Canterbury from the pavilion end, where the slope and the general breeze helps my away swing. I always enjoy the conditions here and I would have liked to have played for another year or two but my serious knee injury has decided otherwise.”

After bowling well in pre-season, Saggers is clearly disappointed that the injury arrived at the worst possible time: “I“m disappointed because at the start of the season I was fit and injury free and felt that I was bowling better than I have done for the past two or three years. I think I could“ve played for another year or so but injuries happen, it is an occupational hazard for a bowler. You put a lot of stress on the body and I guess I“m pretty lucky to have gone through to the age of 37.”

And what now for the popular Kent and England bowler? “I“m certainly looking to stay in the game by moving into the umpiring world; that“s the path I would like to take. I“ve started the process and umpired a couple of Kent League games this year and I have also stood in an England under-19 game. I will still have a lot of connection with Kent County Cricket Club, due to the fact that my Benefit Year runs through until the end of the year.”

So how is the benefit going for ‘Saggs“? “It“s going very well. I have a few functions remaining and it would be great to have the support from the Kent faithful, particularly for my final event which is a Christmas Lunch on December 10. It will be a celebration of my cricketing career with a Caribbean theme. There will be live music and entertainment.”

Finally, Martin wanted to end by mentioning that he will still be a regular visitor to the St Lawrence Ground in the months and years to come: “It has been a great honour to have represented Kent for the past eleven seasons and I look forward to visiting from time to time to see some familiar faces around the ground.”

Picture:www.arpics.co.uk