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England and Surrey all-rounder Zafar Ansari has shocked the cricketing community by announcing his retirement from all forms of cricket effective immediately.
Ansari’s decision to retire also comes just a month into the 2017 county season.
The 25-year-old has been with Surrey since the age of eight and he played county cricket for them while studying at Cambridge University.
Ansari made his international debut in an ODI against Ireland in 2015 and was set to play Test cricket towards the end of that year when England travelled to the United Arab Emirates to take on Pakistan.
However, that did not come to fruition as on the day he received his call-up to the Test team, Ansari sustained an open dislocation of his thumb.
But, the Ascot native did get a chance to represent England in the longest format as he made his Test debut during their tour of Bangladesh last October.
Overall, Ansari represented England in three Tests and an ODI.
Opening up about his decision to retire while speaking to Surrey’s website, Ansari revealed that he now plans to pursue a career in law.
“After seven years as a professional cricketer and almost two decades in total playing the game, I have decided to bring my cricket career to an end,” he said. “This has been a very difficult decision to make and I have not made it lightly. I started playing for Surrey at the age of eight and the club has been a hugely important part of my life since then.
“Surrey have always completely supported me and I am extremely grateful to the club for their backing over the years. It is, therefore, with great sadness that I say goodbye.
“I have always been clear that when the time was right for me to move on I would, and that time has now come. While the timing may come as a surprise, I have always maintained that cricket was just one part of my life and that I have other ambitions that I want to fulfil.
“With that in mind, I am now exploring another career, potentially in law, and to achieve this I have to begin the process now.”
Surrey’s director of cricket Alec Stewart added: “Zafar’s exceptionally tough but considered decision is one that we should all respect and understand.
“To retire at such a young age when his cricket career was progressing very nicely, earning a Test debut against Bangladesh last winter, proves that he has given great thought in deciding to walk away from the professional game.
“He is one of our own, having come through our age group and academy system where he first played for the county at the age of eight.
“Throughout his time with Surrey he has represented the club with great pride and skill. He will be missed by all his Surrey team mates, members and supporters and I speak on behalf of everyone in thanking him for his loyal service.
“We wish Zafar the very best in whatever the future holds for him and he will always be welcomed back to the Kia Oval with open arms.”