Essex all-rounder Graham Napier to retire at the end of the 2016 season
Essex all-rounder Graham Napier has announced he will retire at the end of the 2016 county cricket season.
The 36-year-old has spent 19 seasons with the Chelmsford-based club, particularly starring in one day cricket, but is moving on to launch the Graham Napier Cricket Academy at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook.
Napier made his debut for Essex in 1997, and has gone on to play 157 First-Class matches, 213 List A games and 97 Twenty20 clashes for his county, with his stand-out moment undoubtedly being the 152 he scored in just 58 balls against Sussex in the Twenty20 Cup in 2008.
The academy will launch in September 2016, with the aim of establishing a high profile centre of cricketing excellence which develops young cricketers to fulfil their potential as well as promoting participation at all levels and ages.
Napier said; “The opportunity at RHS is one that I could not turn down. I feel the time is right to move on, and give back to the game that has given me so much. I have loved every second of playing for Essex, and will be doing my best to make sure I retire with a bang at the end of the season.”
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Cricket committee chairman, Ronnie Irani, paid tribute to the long serving all-rounder and former teammate: “Graham has had a fabulous career in all three formats of the game for us, and has been the very definition of loyalty over the past 19 years which is what Essex County Cricket Club and its supporters are all about.
“We naturally wish Graham all the best with his next career move and he will be sorely missed.”
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Headmaster of the Royal Hospital School, Simon Lockyer, said: “We are delighted that Graham has agreed to work with the School building upon the excellent reputation for cricket built up over the past 23 years by Don Topley and his team of coaches. With Graham’s extensive experience the Academy will take provision at the Royal Hospital School to the next stage, widening access to the sport for both girls and boys throughout the region.”
Napier boasts impressive statistics; a batting average of 29.86 in all First-Class cricket, with a bowling equivalent of 31.40; a batting strike-rate in Twenty20 of 148.27, with 142 wickets at 24.38 in the shortest format; and in List A cricket, Napier took 287 wickets over his career, at 26.04.