Luke Wright, Sussex’s former England allrounder, has announced his retirement from first-class cricket with immediate effect. The 34-year-old, who captained Sussex between 2015 and 2017, has signed white-ball only extension to his contract.
Wright was not selected for Sussex’s opening Championship fixture – a seven-wicket defeat to Leicestershire – and after indications from the club’s head coach, Jason Gillespie, that his involvement was likely to be reduced he decided to focus on the shorter formats – beginning with the Royal London Cup, which starts next week.
The trend for players switching to white-ball only deals has been growing – Notts seamer Harry Gurney last month following the example of team-mate Alex Hales – and Wright hopes it will help add a few more years to his career.
“I worked hard on my red-ball cricket over the winter, but once it became clear that I was going to have a lesser role in the four-day team, it made sense for me to commit my long-term future to the white-ball game only,” Wright said. “I’m hoping to carry on playing for the next five to six years and therefore I’m delighted to be committing my future to Sussex with this contract.
“I’m hugely proud of my first-class record – it’s something that has often surprised people who think of me as having been a white-ball specialist – and I was lucky to join Sussex under Peter Moores and Chris Adams ahead of a period of unprecedented success for the county.
“I’ll miss first-class cricket greatly and would always advise any youngsters making their way in the game that four-day runs are always the most rewarding. Dizzy [Gillespie] and Browny [Sussex captain Ben Brown] have my full support going forward and I believe in what they’re trying to achieve with this exciting young team.”
A World T20 winner in 2010, Wright played more than 100 times for England in limited-overs internationals, although they arguably never saw the best of him. He has subsequently carved out a reputation on the T20 circuit, featuring in the Big Bash and IPL and becoming one of a select band of players to make more than 300 T20 appearances.
Gillespie said: “I’m delighted that we’ll be benefitting from Luke’s skills and leadership in the shorter forms of the games for the years to come. He’s in great shape and I’m sure he’ll be playing for a long time yet.
“I sat down with Wrighty at the end of last season and he was keen to work over the winter to try and cement his role in the four-day side. He missed out on selection for the first game with a couple of the other lads given an opportunity and he has been very selfless in making way for other players to come through.
“Luke’s been brilliant for Sussex in first-class cricket for many years and his record reflects what he has achieved in that form of the game.”