Graham Napier: Essex all-rounder to retire at end of 2016

Graham Napier
Graham Napier has spent 19 years with Essex

Essex all-rounder Graham Napier has announced he will retire from cricket at the end of the 2016 season.

The 36-year-old made his Essex debut in 1997, and has gone on to play 157 first-class, 213 List A and 97 Twenty20 matches for the county.

He was included in England's squad for the 2009 World Twenty20, but did not make an appearance in the tournament.

Napier will become director of the cricket academy named after him at the Royal Hospital School in Suffolk.

"The opportunity at RHS is one that I could not turn down," said Napier.

"I feel the time is right to move on, and give back to the game that has given me so much. I have loved every second of playing for Essex, and will be doing my best to make sure I retire with a bang at the end of the season."

Napier hit 16 sixes in a first-class innings in 2011 against Surrey - a world record until it was broken in 2015 by Colin Munro's 23 for Auckland against Central Districts.

He also held the world record for most sixes in a domestic Twenty20 match with 16 against Sussex in 2008, before Chris Gayle broke it in 2013, and took four wickets in four balls against Surrey in 2013.

Essex cricket committee chairman, Ronnie Irani said: "Graham has had a fabulous career in all three formats of the game for us, and has been the very definition of loyalty over the past 19 years which is what Essex County Cricket Club and its supporters are all about.

"We naturally wish Graham all the best with his next career move and he will be sorely missed."

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