Cricket: Rollins forced to retire

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ROBERT ROLLINS, the Essex wicket keeper, has been forced to retire from first-class cricket because of a serious knee injury.

Rollins, 25, played only three first-class matches in 1999. Overall he played 69 first-class matches - 67 for Essex - following his debut in 1992 and scored 2,258 runs, including one century and 11 fifties.

He dismissed 179 batsmen and was a useful late-middle order batsman in one-day cricket. In his four matches in the National Cricket League in 1999 he scored 189 runs at an average of 47.25.

Peter Edwards, the general manager of Essex, said the specialist's diagnosis on Rollins' knee came as a great disappointment that had cut short the career of one of the country's most talented wicketkeepers.

"Robert has been playing in a great deal of pain for the past 12 months and we have to respect the decision," Edwards said. "Everyone at the club will wish him well in the future."