Ed Joyce has decided to retire from county cricket with immediate effect, in order to concentrate on playing for his country, Ireland.
It was announced back in December that the 38 year-old left-hander would be available for Sussex on a cover basis in 2017, after he was awarded a Category A Player Contract by Cricket Ireland, but the former Sussex skipper has now decided to call time on his illustrious career with the county.
Joyce arrived at The 1st Central County Ground in 2009 from Middlesex and later became captain of the club in 2012. He skippered Sussex to two successive third-placed finishes in Division One, the highest place that the county has finished since being crowned champions in 2007.
Joyce scored over 8,000 first-class runs for Sussex, averaging 49.39 and making 23 centuries in the process. His 250 against Derbyshire last season, on his way to over 1,000 runs in the Specsavers County Championship, is the highest score of his first-class career.
With Ireland ready to make the step up to Test Cricket in 2018, Joyce has decided to concentrate his efforts with Ireland, and his provincial team Leinster, having undergone knee surgery last winter.
Joyce said of his decision, “County cricket has been a huge part of my life for the last 18 years and it is with a tinge of sadness that I've decided not to play this season or beyond. I fully intended on playing at least some cricket for Sussex in 2017 but the realities of my various injuries, alongside my playing commitments here in Ireland have meant that this isn't possible.
“So when Mark and Luke asked about my availability for the upcoming Championship games, I felt the best thing to do for me and the club was to retire from county cricket altogether so we could both move on.
“There's no doubt in my mind I played my best cricket at Sussex and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the coaches, players, supporters and environment at the club that allowed me to do this. I'll always feel like I'm coming home when I visit Hove in the future, which I plan to do as often as possible as a spectator.
“On a sunny day in the summer there's no better city to be in, or ground at which to watch cricket.
“On the playing side, I'm still enjoying competing for Ireland and Leinster. With the prospect of Test cricket and full membership potentially on the horizon, it's an exciting time for Irish cricket and I want to play my part in this process as long as I feel I can contribute on the field.
“Good Old Sussex By The Sea!”
Sussex’s Director of Cricket Keith Greenfield said, “Ed has been such an important player for the club since he joined us in 2009.
“The quality of his batting is obvious, and has been enjoyed and appreciated by all, but his impact as a person into the environment we have created here cannot be underestimated.
“His integrity, calmness and professionalism has been crucial to us throughout, both when winning trophies, and also when going through transition.
“A quality player and an outstanding man, we all wish him well for the future.”