Mushtaq Ahmed, the former Pakistan legspinner, has announced his retirement from county cricket due to persistent knee trouble. For the last six years, Mushtaq has been an integral member of the English county side Sussex, during which they won three County Championship titles.
It was a difficult decision, Mushtaq admitted, as he thanked his team-mates and staff at Sussex.
"I would firstly like to thank Allah for providing me with this great family," Mushtaq said. "This is a very hard decision for me to make, as I feel that I could possible play one more year, but out of respect, I would only do that if I felt 100% per cent and I wouldn't want to risk that for the family.
"I am going to miss playing for the club greatly. I am truly honoured to have spent six wonderful years here. There are not enough words to express my gratitude to the club, but I would like to specially thank Peter Moores, Mark Robinson, Chris Adams, all my team-mates, all the fans and everyone who is part of this magnificent family for all the opportunities and memories that they have provided me with.
Adams, the Sussex captain, hailed Mushtaq as one of the county's most valuable overseas players.
"Mushtaq's legacy at the club is that he leaves us statistically, romantically and emotionally the best player to ever pull on a Sussex shirt," Adams said. "In view of the impact he's made, it's difficult to think of another cricketer who has achieved or done more for one county. His legacy extends beyond the playing arena, as I'm sure all that have been graced by his presence will agree. He is simply a great man."
Mushtaq, 38, last played for Pakistan in 2003. Overlooked by his country, he carved out a very successful county career, and in 2003 he became the first bowler in five years to take 100 wickets in the English season. That was instrumental in guiding Sussex to the first Championship title in their history, a feat he and they repeated in 2006 and the following season. He has bowled over 26,000 overs in all competitions, taking 598 wickets. He ends his first-class career with over 1400 wickets.