County cricket: Alan Richardson retires to take up coaching role at Warwickshire
Worcestershire paceman Alan Richardson has ended his playing career to take up a coaching role at Warwickshire.
Last Updated: 07/01/14 4:59pm
Richardson's decision is a huge blow for his county Worcestershire, who lose one of the most prolific wicket-takers in county cricket in recent seasons.
The 38-year-old has been appointed as Warwickshire's bowling coach in place of Graeme Welch, who has moved to become Elite Cricket Performance Director at Derbyshire.
Richardson struggled to get regular cricket in the early stages of his career at Derbyshire and Warwickshire before enjoying success following his move to Middlesex in 2004, earning an England A call-up in 2008 despite a series of injuries.
But at New Road - where he moved in 2009 -he became one of the most feared bowlers in England, able to move the ball both ways off the seam with his unusual 'windmill' action.
He was the leading wicket-taker in Division One in 2010 with 73 and in 2012 Richardson was named one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year.
He took 254 wickets in 60 first-class matches for Worcestershire and finishes his career with 569 first class victims at an average of 26.37.
Richardson said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my playing career and particularly the last four years at New Road which have been very special for me.
"I am grateful to Worcestershire for releasing me from the final year of my contract in order to take on this new challenge as part of the next chapter in my life".
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes added: "With a year left on Alan's contract it is hugely disappointing to lose a player who has performed so well for Worcestershire over the last four seasons, taking over 250 four-day wickets.
"It will be our intention to find a suitable replacement as soon as possible but this will also now present opportunities for our developing squad of bowlers to make their mark and step up during 2014 and beyond.
"We understand that there is a long life outside of playing the game and at 38 Alan's playing career could not go on forever and for him to have the opportunity to continue a career in cricket in a coaching capacity is something that doesn't come along that often.
"Alan has been a great servant to cricket on the field and we wish him all the best in his new role and he will always be welcome at New Road."