Popular Gloucestershire ace calls time on 19-year professional career...

GLOUCESTERSHIRE batsman Michael Klinger has announced his retirement from First Class cricket.

Aussie Klinger, who joined Gloucestershire as club captain in December 2012, has been prolific in red and white-ball cricket, amassing plenty of runs in the process.

Klinger was captain of the Gloucestershire side that lifted the Royal London One-Day Cup in 2015 after defeating Surrey at Lords.

The 37-year-old has played 182 First Class matches, amassing 11,320 runs at an average of 39.3, with a high score of 255, achieved while playing for South Australia against Western Australia in his debut season with the Redbacks.

Klinger will continue to play Twenty20 cricket, with commitments this year in the UK, Bangladesh and in this year’s KFC Big Bash League.

After 19 years in professional cricket, Klinger feels the time has come to devote more time to his family.

Wife Cindy is battling breast cancer, which was diagnosed in December and Klinger’s priority is his wife and three children.

“Hopefully down the track the treatment will keep working and get her in a really good place,” said Klinger. “We’ve still got a fight in front of us but Cindy is going really well.”

Looking back on his First Class career, which will finish with Western Australia, Klinger said he had been fortunate to enjoy and appreciate all aspects of it.

“I’m in a unique position where I’d like to thank three organisations who gave me opportunities at different stages of my career,” he said “Firstly, to Cricket Victoria for their help and support in my development and giving me my initial opportunities in domestic cricket in Australia.

“Secondly, I’d like to thank the South Australian Cricket Association for giving me an opportunity more than ten years ago when my cricket career was at a crossroads, helping to kick-start a much-improved period of my career.

“I am also thankful for the opportunity to captain both the Redbacks and Adelaide Strikers, which I really enjoyed and which helped to enhance my leadership skills.

“Finally, to the WACA for what has been an absolutely amazing and enjoyable four years, during which time I’ve had the opportunity to play as a senior player in a developing group. Throughout this period, I’ve learnt about professionalism, effective communication, having fun and have been extremely fortunate to be part of four trophy-winning teams with the Warriors and Scorchers.

“This was no doubt a big reason for me getting an opportunity to represent my country last year in a few Twenty20 games, which is up there with the highlights of my career.

“I’d also like to say a special thank you to Justin Langer for his constant support with both on and-off field matters and all the staff and players who have been involved over the past four years.

“It’s those people who make the environment a great place to be.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.