Former England offspinner confirms end to 24-year playing career
Gareth Batty, the former England offspinner, has called time on a playing career spanning 24 years and will take up a position as assistant coach at Surrey.
Batty, who will be 44 this month, captained Surrey in T20 cricket over the last two seasons, but confirmed his retirement at the club’s end-of-season awards evening. In two spells at the club, he played 377 matches and took 534 wickets. He finishes as Surrey’s joint-leading wicket-taker in T20 cricket, alongside the also departing Jade Dernbach, with 114.
He also spent eight successful seasons at Worcestershire, claiming almost 500 wickets across the formats. It was while at Worcestershire that he first won recognition with England, making his ODI debut on the 2002-03 Ashes tour and playing the first of nine Tests in Dhaka the following winter.
In 2016, at the age of 39, he won a remarkable England recall for the Test tours of Bangladesh and India, playing in Chattogram and Mohali after 11 years out of the side.
Batty had already begun coaching on a part-time basis with Surrey, working with the club’s young spinners, Amar Virdi, Dan Moriarty and Will Jacks, and will now move on to the backroom staff, under director of cricket Alec Stewart and head coach Vikram Solanki.
“It’s been a privilege to have played the professional game for more than 20 years,” Batty said. “I never took a moment of it for granted and I know how fortunate I am to have represented the teams I have.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has been involved in a highly enjoyable career: team-mates, coaches, family, friends and fans. I’m now excited to start a new career at this great club and looking forward to all the challenges and opportunities that will bring.”
Having made his first-class debut with Yorkshire in 1997, Batty moved down to Surrey and then on to Worcestershire, before returning to the London club in 2009. He was Surrey’s club captain between 2015 and 2017, during which time they were promoted back to Division One of the Championship, ahead of a successful tilt at the title in 2018.
He also oversaw a run of three consecutive Royal London Cup finals – although Surrey were defeated on each occasion at Lord’s – as well as an appearance at Finals Day in last year’s T20 Blast.
Stewart said: “Batts should look back on his playing career with immense pride. He achieved so much in the game and has always given 100% commitment to every team he has represented. His knowledge and passion for the game is second to none which will be a great asset as he embarks on his coaching career.
“He will be missed in the dressing room for everything he has given as a captain and player, but I know that loyal and caring nature will now be transferred across into his coaching. As we congratulate him on all he has achieved as a player, we now look forward to him starting out on his coaching career which I have no doubts he will make a great success of. Cricket is in his blood and we’re very fortunate to have him at Surrey helping to develop and improve our players.”
Solanki added: “There are few that have given as much of themselves to both the game and the teams they’ve played for than Gareth. Time and again, whether as player, captain or player/coach, he has put Surrey CCC ahead of himself when the club has needed him most. Fiercely competitive, totally committed and entirely selfless, Gareth epitomises what it is to be a professional sportsman in team environments.
“On a personal note I am grateful to have had the privilege to play alongside Gareth and look forward to working with him as a coach. He has a wealth of experience across all aspects of the game that will hugely benefit our squad.”