Thorpe becomes a victim of demanding schedules

Angus Fraser
Thursday 23 January 2014 05:42
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There is little doubt that losing Saturday's NatWest Series final to India will have dented the belief, confidence and chances of Nasser Hussain's England side as they work towards next year's World Cup in South Africa.

However, the mental scarring sustained by their two-wicket defeat will be far easier to overcome than the physical loss caused by Graham Thorpe's decision to retire from one-day international cricket.

Thorpe, the 32-year-old Surrey left-hander, who has played 82 one-day games for England announced his decision at the conclusion of Saturday's final, even though he made Hussain and the coach Duncan Fletcher aware of his intentions earlier in the week.

"Graham got an ankle injury halfway through the series, which allowed us to play Michael Vaughan," Fletcher said. "Given that he let us know of his decision to retire from the one-day team at that time."

Giving the reasons for his retirement Thorpe said: "In terms of keeping my body fit, it is becoming harder to do so playing both Tests and one-day internationals for England, so I have decided to concentrate on just playing Test matches. Secondly, I want to have more time to build a relationship with my two children, given my new personal circumstances at home."

Following the much publicised break-up of his marriage during the winter, it would be his desire to see more of his children that would have influenced him most. Coming to terms with this upheaval has been difficult for him and it is understandable that if he had to make a decision over which format to play, one-day cricket would be the loser.

Despite not playing in England's last four games of this tournament Thorpe would have been an integral part of England's plans for the World Cup for no one doubts his qualities as a high-class middle-order batsman and the important role he would have played. He will be missed and it is sad to see such a talented player driven out of the game in such a way.

Hussain believes Thorpe to be the first English casualty of the enormous workload international players are now being subjected to. While the physical demands of playing cricket at this level are high, it is the emotional ones of being away from your family, for large chunks of the year, that are most damaging.

Thorpe, along with Darren Gough and Philip Tufnell, is one of three high-profile England cricketers whose relationships have failed because of the demands of the job and it is sure to be a subject raised by Hussain at a meeting between all the international captains today in London.

GRAHAM THORPE FACTFILE

1969: Born 1 August, Farnham, Surrey.

1993: Made century on Test debut against Australia at Trent Bridge.

1993-94: First overseas tour with England to West Indies,

1999: Part of England's unsuccessful World Cup campaign. Announced he was unavailable to tour South Africa.

2001: Captain for one-day series in Sri Lanka, replacing injured Nasser Hussain.

2001: Came home early from Test tour of India for personal reasons, returned for one-day matches.

2002: Recorded highest Test score – unbeaten 200 – against New Zealand

July 13: Announced retirement from one-day international cricket.

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