Richardson hangs up boots
4:03pm Tuesday 7th January 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Worcestershire fast bowler Alan Richardson has retired from the game with immediate effect to take up the post of bowling coach with midlands rivals Warwickshire.
The 38-year-old from Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire has quit the first-class game following an 18-year career playing for Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Middlesex and Worcestershire.
Richardson took 569 first-class wickets and was voted one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 2012.
Richardson said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my playing career and particularly the last four years at New Road which have been very special for me.
"I am grateful to Worcestershire for releasing me from the final year of my contract in order to take on this new challenge as part of the next chapter in my life".
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: "With a year left on Alan's contract it is hugely disappointing to lose a player who has performed so well for Worcestershire over the last four seasons, taking over 250 four-day wickets.
"It will be our intention to find a suitable replacement as soon as possible but this will also now present opportunities for our developing squad of bowlers to make their mark and step up during 2014 and beyond."
Rhodes added: "We understand that there is a long life outside of playing the game and at 38 Alan's playing career could not go on forever and for him to have the opportunity to continue a career in cricket in a coaching capacity is something that doesn't come along that often.
"Alan has been a great servant to cricket on the field and we wish him all the best in his new role and he will always be welcome at New Road."