Matthew Hoggard to retire from cricket at the end of the season

Bowler helped England regain the Ashes in 2005

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The Independent Online

Matthew Hoggard announced his decision to retire at the end of the season today after a career rich in success.

As the Leicestershire bowler looked back over his glittering career, the 2005 Ashes winner reminisced about the beginning of his journey and where it all began, explaining the aspirations he had in his youth:

"I wanted to be a vet. I loved my time with the Pudsey Congs and it was a really happy place for me as a child, but I never thought I was good enough," he told The Independent.

"I played for every team I could but it was just a hobby I did because I loved the sport."

Hoggard, who was awarded an MBE in the 2006 New Year Honours for his role in the Ashes, credits, and thanks, Phil Carrick for his role in advancing the Yorkshireman’s career.

"If it wasn’t for Phil I wouldn’t be where I am today. He was the one who recognised my talent and got me from the third team to the first team and then my pro contract at Yorkshire."

As the millennium came and went, a 23-year-old Hoggard found himself selected for England, joining the likes of Nasser Hussain, Darren Fletcher and Darren Gough. Being selected for your country in any sport is a proud honour, but Hoggy spoke of the help he had from his fellow Yorkshiremen.

"Playing for England was fantastic, it was always a proud moment to play for my country but it was made easier for me because there were already a few lads from Yorkshire there. I can remember sitting in the balcony with my pads on, feeling nervous, watching Darren Gough out there.

"I remember my first catch was straight forward but I still decided to take a dive with it."

As that career continued to bloom and success came in abundance, Hoggard finished a career with many achievements, but when asked if one moment stood out as his biggest career achievement, he simply could not pick one:

"There are too many to just pick one. Obviously being awarded the MBE is up there, it was very bizarre to be given this title for playing cricket but it was great to get the nation back to having cricket in mind."

As Hoggard announced his decision to the world today, he tweeted from his twitter account thanking everyone who has played a part in making his career so enjoyable, but he also made special reference to his wife: "Special thanks go to @mrshoggy602 for been my rock throughout my ride!"

He explained that his career involved "a lot of time spent away from home which was very hard and involves its ups and downs but she was the one who has been steady throughout, ready to celebrate but also to pick up the pieces."

When asked about his plans for retirement, Hoggard’s first contemplation of being a "beach bum" was soon scratched off as a possibility. No plans are set in stone but he is sure that "cricket will play a part somewhere along the line" and that he will just continue to "bring the pieces of the jigsaw together to create a pretty picture."