Marcus North, the 34-year-old Western Australian batsman, has decided to retire from first-class cricket in his homeland.
North has enjoyed a fantastic season with his Sheffield Shield side, captaining them to the final of the competition for the first time in 15 years, whilst personally enjoying one of his finest seasons - scoring 886 at an average in excess of 63. He was named Shield player of the year and captain of the Shield team of the year, but unfortunately he could not guide his side to victory in the final itself.
His season was all the more remarkable because he had endured such a terrible year last term. He was so out of touch that he was dropped to play grade cricket in order to try and find some form. He was also affected by the death of his brother in November due to a car accident.
The 6ft 2inch left-handed batsman has played 21 Test matches for his country since making his debut against South Africa in 2009, scoring 1,171 runs at an average of just over 35. During these 21 Tests, North has scored five centuries and four fifties. Despite his age, and the fact that another thirty something Chris Rodgers was doing so well for the national side, there was still an outside chance, given his form, that North could have forced his way back into the Australia side.
Let's not forget that North is a handy bowler as well - his career best figures of 6-55 came in a Test match against Pakistan at Lords in July 2010.
Between 2004 and 2009 North played in England for a range of counties which included Durham, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire and Hampshire. After making his Test debut in 2009 North became a regular in the Australian side but made his last appearance during November 2010 and failed to regain his place thereafter. North could have played many more Tests for Australia but he was another victim of the Aussies depth in riches in the batting department.
North has now decided to retire to England as he looks to embark on a career in business. Whilst in England, he will play again for Derbyshire after agreeing a contract with the County side, and has also said that he will honour the final year of his contract with Big Bash side Sydney Sixers.
North though has decided that he can no longer mentally cope with the demands of another full Australian summer.
He will retire as a stalwart in Western Australian cricket and also a gentleman who was admired by many of his fellow cricketers. He will also retire at the top of his game after such a remarkable last season.
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