England’s Paul Collingwood has announced his retirement from Test cricket at the age of 34.
The Durham batsman, who has scored 4,259 runs in 68 Tests at an average of 40.25, will step down after the final Ashes Test against Australia in Sydney.
Collingwood is England’s Twenty20 captain and will continue to play limited-overs cricket for his country.
“Now is the time to ensure some of the younger players get an opportunity at Test level,” said Collingwood.
He has struggled with the bat in the current series, making only 83 runs from six innings at an average of 13.83.
And there is no shortage of players queuing up for an opportunity in England’s middle order with Middlesex’s Eoin Morgan, a member of the Ashes squad but not picked for any of the Tests, James Hildreth of Somerset and Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale the leading candidates to fill the gap.
Collingwood said in a statement: “Representing England at Test level has always been a dream of mine and I’ve been fortunate enough to have enjoyed some amazing highs throughout my Test career.
“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve always given my all for the England Test team but I feel that this is the right time to leave Test cricket having reached some very special achievements, none more satisfying than retaining the Ashes in Australia.
“Clearly I still feel I have a huge amount to offer England in terms of limited overs cricket and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to continue leading the Twenty20 squad and playing a significant role in England’s ODI team.”
Collingwood, who led England to the World Twenty20 title in the Caribbean last May, told BBC Test Match Special that he had made the decision to end his Test career “a few days ago”.
He continued: “I was hoping to go out with a bit of a fairytale ending but it wasn’t to be. Still, I’m very happy with the decision, it’s the right time to do it – I don’t think there’s a better way to go out of the game in the Test format than retaining the Ashes. (BBC)