Nottinghamshire were dealt a double blow earlier this week when batsmen Greg Smith and Michael Lumb both announced their immediate retirement from professional cricket.
Whilst Lumb was forced to hang up his spikes due to injury, Smith opted to begin the next chapter in his life by pursuing an opportunity away from cricket.
But at 37 and 28 respectively, both still have the majority of their working lives ahead of them.
Cricket writer Tim Wigmore (@TimWig) joins me on the latest edition of the One Stump Short Podcast to discuss the England cricket teams current Test woes, the impact of the new ECB TV deal on players salaries and the importance of Afghanistan’s promotion to Full Member status and what it should mean for world cricket.
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The demise of the Gillett Cup/NatWest Trophy/C&G Trophy/Friends Provident Trophy could broadly be described as sensible.
Merged with the Pro 40 and replaced/re-branded as the Yorkshire Bank 40 (or YB40 as it was more commonly known) in 2010, it fell victim to a changing domestic game as T20 grew and schedule demands increased.
It’s place on the landscape had slipped, it’s relevance diminished.
Whilst few will spare a second thought for the competition now, beyond the odd moment of nostalgia, it’s demise also robbed English cricket of a spectacle more important than it was perhaps given credit for – the chance for minor counties to face first class opposition.
How many chances should a player get to prove his worth at international level?
And how many chances is too many exactly?
At what point do you ‘give up’ up on someone as a Test player?
England’s vicious Test series against South Africa in 1998 has come back in to sharp focus this week, with Rob Smyth’s excellent piece on the decisive Fifth Test at Headingley providing a timely reminder of the pitched battle that the two nations engaged in that summer.
Smyth recounts the increasingly antagonistic nature of the series, as England recovered from a ten wicket defeat at Lords during the Second Test to win the series 2-1.
Michael Atherton’s defiant 98 not out during the second innings of the Fourth Test at Trent Bridge is often considered to be the defining moment of that series, and with good reason, but it would have been for nothing were it not for another man: Robert Croft