GLOUCESTERSHIRE seamer Ian Saxelby has been forced to retire from professional cricket after a career ravaged by injuries.
Saxelby, who only turned 25 two weeks ago, sustained a knee injury whilst bowling in the LV= County Championship match against Surrey at the Kia Oval last month and the surgery revealed the damage to be worse than initially hoped.
He also struggled with shoulder problems, which caused him to miss both the 2010 and 2013 campaigns.
A former England under-19 player, Saxelby showed plenty of promise as a youngster and was with the England Performance squad in South Africa when he suffered his first major setback, spending a long spell on the sidelines after he suffered successive dislocations of his right shoulder.
Saxelby said: "It is extremely disappointing that I am unable to continue along the path of professional cricket but unfortunately my body is forcing me to hang up my boots.
“After recovering from my shoulder surgery last season, I’m devastated by the seriousness of this recent career-ending injury.
“I feel that I have given everything to the sport and I have thoroughly enjoyed the time I have spent in the game.
“I must thank everyone I have met along the way, in this country and abroad, for the support that has come my way and I am very grateful for the opportunities cricket has given me.
“Finally I must thank Gloucestershire CCC for the past seven years, all the staff have been fantastic to work with and I wish the lads every success this season and in the coming years."
Saxelby’s career with Gloucestershire began in 2008 when he signed a three-year contract at the end of that season following a trial.
On his first class debut he helped save a Championship game against Middlesex batting at number 11.
Saxelby took 109 first class wickets at an average of 30.59 and took 3-71 on his return to the side against Essex at the County Ground in Bristol earlier this season after 18 months out but managed just two balls before breaking down against Surrey.
Gloucestershire director of cricket John Bracewell said: “It is a great shame that Ian has been forced to retire from the game at such a young age due to injury. He has been the consummate professional and proved to be a bowler beyond his years.
“With a good repeatable action he hit the wicket hard with control and out swing. He led our attack from an early age and his calm demeanour around pressure situations meant he was a ‘go to guy’ in tough situations.
“He will be missed by the team and hard to replace.”