Luke Sutton has retired from cricket after having treatment for depression and anxiety.
With the issue of mental health among sportsmen in sharp focus recently following the suicide of Wales football manager Gary Speed, the 35-year-old Derbyshire captain has decided to call time on his 14-year career as he looks to complete his recovery.
Former Somerset and Lancashire wicketkeeper Sutton took on extra responsibilities at Derbyshire last year following the controversial sacking of head of cricket John Morris in May.
He also had to contend with the pressures of running his own business, a serious hand injury, the health of his two-year-old daughter and a regular commute between Manchester and Derby. In the end, that has proved too much for him.
“I have been aware for some time that I have problems with certain aspects of my mental health,” he said. “I have always pushed myself to the limit but I reached a point that it was having an adverse affect on my relationships with my family and colleagues and my health in general.
“Although as a professional sportsman it is extremely embarrassing to admit to a weakness, I’m proud to have found the strength of character to seek treatment, enabling me now to feel extremely positive about my future.
“I’ve had a brilliant time over my 14 years in the game and a number of other important reasons have led me to decide to retire.
“In addition to concerns about my own health, my two-year-old daughter has recently been diagnosed with diabetes and the growing success and, therefore, pressure of my business has forced me to take a long look at my future.
“I’ve recently undergone hand surgery which has also played its part in this decision. Upon reflection and although a difficult decision, it is the right time to move on.”
“I have thought long and hard about this decision and I know it is for the best of the club. I genuinely don’t feel I would be able to fulfil my position at the club to the level that I know is required.
“I now look forward to the next chapter of my working life with Activate Sport and also spending more time with my wife Jude and our twins Albie and Amelie.
“I will be making no further comment for now as I need to focus on my recovery, my family and my new life after cricket and I would ask that everyone respect my privacy and allow me and my family the time and distance that we need. As soon as I’m ready, I will talk further about my experiences.”
Sutton appeared in 176 first-class matches, 167 List A games and 30 t20s after making his debut for Somerset in 1997. He moved to Derbyshire in 2000 and became captain in 2004, leaving for Lancashire in 2006 and spending five years at Old Trafford.
His replacement as Derbyshire skipper is to be named within a few days, said club chairman Chris Grant, who added: “Luke’s retirement was unexpected but we respect his decision and thank him for his efforts during his two spells with Derbyshire.
“With the changes that were made at the club during the 2011 season, we appreciate it was a testing year for Luke and, on a personal level, I would like to thank him for his loyal support.
“I speak for everybody connected with the club in saying that I wish Luke all the very best in his continued recovery and in his future endeavours.”