Steven Crook, the Northamptonshire allrounder who was integral to both of the county’s T20 Blast triumphs, will retire from all forms of cricket at the end of the 2018 season.
Crook, 35, was born and raised in Australia, but spent his entire professional career in England, where he became something of a cult hero over the course of a 13-year association with Northamptonshire.
After launching his county career with two initial seasons at Lancashire, Crook moved to Wantage Road in 2005, and after two seasons at Middlesex in 2011 and 2012, he returned to Northamptonshire for what would prove to be an unforgettable 2013.
In the County Championship, Crook contributed 482 runs at 40.16 as well as 43 wickets at 26.48, as Northants defied pre-season expectations to achieve promotion to the top flight.
That same summer, Crook was their outstanding performer on Finals Day, scoring 46 not out off 24 balls alongside figures of 1 for 32 to defeat Essex in the semi-final before claiming 2 for 26 to beat Surrey in the final and seal the county’s maiden T20 title.
And in 2016, he was at it again in the same competition, taking 3 for 28 in the semi-final win over Nottinghamshire – alongside three catches – before picking up another wicket in the final against Durham.
Crook was awarded his County cap in 2013 and a testimonial year in 2018, and said that he would cherish those memories of his time as a player at Northamptonshire.
“It’s been an incredible ride living out my childhood dream of being a professional cricketer and I’m really proud to have played for such a long time,” he said. “I feel it’s the right time for me to hang up my hat and look forward to new challenges off the field.
“There are too many people to mention individually but I want to thank all of my coaches over the years, support staff, teammates, and particularly my friends and family – I’d like to make a special mention to my Mum and Dad, brothers and my fiancé, Tamsin and daughter Marley – I wouldn’t have had the career I’ve had without their support.
“I’d like to thank everyone at the club, all the supporters and everyone in the County who have made my time here so special, and I’m so proud to have been a part of the success that we’ve had as a team in the last few years.
“I’m going to miss the camaraderie and banter in the dressing room that we’ve had as a tight group of mates, but the memories that I’ve made will last a lifetime.”
Head Coach, David Ripley, paid tribute to Crook’s contribution to the cause at the County Ground.
“Steve’s been a superb player for us,” he said. “He’s been an integral part of the club’s success over the last six years, playing a major role in winning the T20 titles in 2013 and 2016 as well as the allround effort he made to help us gain promotion in 2013.
“He’s a great character to have in the dressing room and is a positive influence on the players around him. On the field he’s a fierce competitor, a 100 percenter, day in, day out. A top bloke who will be sorely missed around the changing room.”
“On behalf of the players and coaches I’d like to wish him and his family all the very best for the future.”