Tim Murtagh announces retirement at end of county season

Tim Murtagh, the former Ireland seamer and stalwart of county cricket for 23 years, has announced he will retire from professional cricket at the end of the season.

Murtagh, 42, has been named in Middlesex’s squad to face Warwickshire at Lord’s this week, where the club will continue their fight to stay in Division One of the County Championship, with one final match of the season to come against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

If selected against Warwickshire, the match will be the 264th first-class appearance of his career, and his 91st at Lord’s, a venue where he confirmed his enduring class earlier this season by claiming the fifth ten-wicket haul of his career – including his 1000th wicket for Middlesex – in an emphatic nine-wicket win over Kent.

However, having taken up a player-coach role at the start of the 2023 season, Murtagh is now set to move into coaching full-time, with a permanent role in the Middlesex back-room staff.

“I’ve had these words mulling around in my head for around ten years, but now is the time to put them onto paper,” Murtagh said in a statement released by the club.

“It’s with a great deal of pride and a tinge of sadness that I announce my retirement from cricket at the end of this season. Its finally time to hang up the speed menace boots (the irony is not lost on me) after an incredible 25 years of joy playing professional sport.

“It’s been an incredible honour to have played for this great club since 2007 and I am grateful to everyone who made me feel instantaneously at home here. Right up to the present management in helping me transition out of playing this year. I still hope to play a big part in keeping us in Division One these last two weeks.

“Moving forward I can’t wait to help the next generation of Middlesex cricketers live out their own dreams as I move onto the coaching staff and the next phase of my life.”

Murtagh’s career wickets tally currently stands at 1341, including 951 in a first-class career that began at Surrey in 2000, before his switch to Middlesex in 2007.

In between whiles, he played 75 matches across formats for Ireland, for whom he qualified thanks to his Dublin-born grandfather. His finest hour came in the last of his three Test appearances, on his home ground at Lord’s, when he secured the first-morning figures of 5 for 13 to bowl England out for 85, and book himself a place on the dressing-room honours board.

Alan Coleman, Middlesex’s director of cricket, added: “Players like Murts come along so rarely … he is an absolute gem of a bloke, both on and off the field.

“Whilst we’re sad that we won’t be able to call upon Murts’ skills on the field anymore, we’re thrilled that he will still be around the group and playing a leading role in continuing to develop the players we have here at Middlesex.

“I’ve been hugely impressed with how quickly he has taken to coaching, and the impact he has had in a short space of time, and I am looking forward to seeing him develop these skills in the next chapter of his career.”