Cricket

Rob Key has announced his retirement from cricket.

Rob Key hangs up his bat

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Former England batsman Rob Key has announced his retirement from professional cricket.

Key, 36, won 15 Test caps and five in one-day internationals between 2002 and 2005.

The Kent opener scored almost 20,000 first-class runs in 299 matches.

His decision to retire was announced on Monday on his county's official website.

The statement read: "The club and I have come to a mutual agreement, after a long and enjoyable career, to call it a day.

"It's time for the younger players to have their chance, and it doesn't feel right for me to stand in their way any more."

Key, who spent his entire 18-year career with Kent, made a double-century for England against West Indies at Lord's in 2004 - and finished with a Test average of 31.

He also played once for his country in the sprint format - the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 opener, in which the hosts suffered a shock defeat to Holland at Lord's.

He added: "I would like to say a massive thank you to all who have supported me throughout my career.

"It has been a great honour to represent Kent. I don't know what the future holds, but I look forward to what the next chapter has in store."

He was Kent captain for nine years in two spells, stepping down from that role at the end of last season.

Kent chairman George Kennedy said: "Rob has been an outstanding servant of Kent and England throughout his career.

"He is a club man and selfless captain, whose records will stand as testament to his ability with the bat.

"Perhaps more importantly his leadership and loyalty to Kent in some turbulent times has helped lead the club to a much stronger place.

"The current crop of exciting talent has learned much from his time at the helm."

Key has worked recently as a reporter for Sky Sports during this year's ICC World Twenty20 in India.

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