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Harmison announces retirement from cricket

ESPN staff
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Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff enjoyed a successful England bowling partnership © Getty Images
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Steve Harmison has announced his retirement from cricket at the age of 34, taking place with immediate effect.

The former England fast bowler confirmed in an interview with north east newspaper Sunday Sun he had "known for a while" that he would call time on his career at the end of the 2013 season, when his contract with Durham had expired.

Harmison did not make a single first-class appearance for Durham throughout the season they captured their third County Championship title, but maintained he delayed his announcement in order to allow his team-mates to enjoy their achievement.

With 222 wickets in 62 Tests for England, Harmison was instrumental in the 2005 Ashes series which saw England lift the urn for the first time since 1987. However, the 34-year-old often suffered from homesickness which had an adverse effect on him touring with England, particularly in the return Ashes series where Australia ran out 5-0 winners.

His best figures came in 2004 as he finished with seven wickets for 12 runs when England dismissed the West Indies for 47 in Jamaica, while he made his final first-class appearance when on-loan at Yorkshire in July 2012.

Confirming his decision in the Sunday Sun, Harmison stated: "I was hoping to go out on a high in my benefit year but my body has not allowed me to, and I have not made a single first-team appearance.

"With my contract up at the end of the season, I have known for a while I would be calling it a day.But I did not want to take the shine off such a magnificent campaign for Durham by announcing it before the end.

"I may not have been able to contribute in the way I wished, but I have at least got what I most wanted out of the 2013 season - the County Championship trophy back in the cabinet at Chester-le-Street.

"So now, with the club's end-of-season awards night out of the way, I can make my decision public.

"It's been such a privilege for a Northumberland lad come good to play for a fantastic county like Durham.

"No one's more frustrated than me at how little I've played for Durham in the last few years, but injuries are part of being a fast bowler."

Harmison's decision follows that of Ashes team-mate Matthew Hoggard, who announced his retirement last from the sport last month.

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