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A good leave: Carters' call all-class

12 May 2017

Ryan Carters struck five centuries in his 43-match first-class career // Getty

Our voices

The 27-year-old explains his decision to hang up the bat and gloves after an eight-year professional career with NSW and Victoria

@samuelfez
@samuelfez

Sam Ferris is a Sydney-based journalist for cricket.com.au. He started in 2011 as a Big Bash League correspondent and continues to monitor the domestic scene and national sides closely.

It's crystal clear after speaking to Ryan Carters on the day he announced his retirement from cricket that he was never meant to chase leather for most of his life.

The 26-year-old has put his bat back in its sleeve for good, walking away from cricket to follow his heart into scholarly pursuits that could not be shared with the game he's loved since he was three.

Quick Single: Carters retires from all forms of cricket

The erudite Carters, who wields a vocabulary as good as the willow he used to score thousands of runs with, has absolutely no regrets in giving up cricket on the eve of what's said to be the most prolific years in a batsman's career.

Instead, he turns his focus from a Kookaburra ball to a library of books as he endeavours to complete his studies at Sydney University and beyond in order to have a greater impact on the world than he did when crisply banishing half-volleys to the cover boundary. 


"I could definitely have continued playing cricket and I would've enjoyed playing cricket but I've opted to not see out my contract with Cricket New South Wales," Carters told cricket.com.au from Bali.

"You only get one chance at life and I've decided for me now I want to pursue other things. 

"I'm really grateful to have played professionally for eight years. 

"That's a long time and I've had a really varied and wonderful career in that time but I'm ready to try out some new parts of life because it's a big world out there and I'm really curious about other areas where I can have an impact."

You see while most modern day cricketers are worried about selection, an upcoming match and their next contract - and rightly so - Carters has spent the past four years working with the LBW Trust as the founder of Batting for Change, a charity aimed at supporting disadvantaged women in cricket-playing nations.

Quick Single: Carters explains genesis of Batting for Change

Funds are raised by pledges, donations and the Sydney Sixers clearing the rope during the KFC Big Bash League, a concept that netted more than $150,000 last season and has helped build classrooms in Nepal and provide university education to more than 1,000 women in India and Sri Lanka since its inception in 2013.

While he will no longer be physically able to clear the boundary in the magenta, Carters involvement with Batting for Change won't end along with his playing days as the cause prepares to announce new ideas later this year.

But in the short-term, there is now no pre-season for Carters to attend, no practice nets to occupy for hours, no weights to lift or laps to run. 

BBL|04: Got him, yes! Carters' icy catch

"In the next few months I'm looking forward to doing an internship in public policy consulting and also continuing my studies at the University of Sydney in philosophy, policy and economics, as well as working with the LBW Trust in developing Batting for Change," he said. 

"That will definitely keep me busy and I'm excited to dive into those three things but also keep my options open beyond that and explore the world outside of cricket and my different interests.

"I'd love to study post-graduate education overseas in the next few years. 

"I think that would be a really wonderful way to deepen my knowledge in the areas that I'm passionate about which include economics, but also the politics and philosophy behind economics.

"So thinking about what values underlie our economic system and how that's important in determining what sort of society we live in and how fairly or unfairly the opportunities are distributed."


See, cricketers don't usually say that kind of stuff.

Carters' decision to pull up stumps is certainly a shock, perhaps not to those close to him, but to the broader public which has now witnessed two players under 27 retire from cricket in less than a month.

In late April, England international Zafar Ansari, 25, called time on his career to pursue a future in education and law, reasons that are similar to Carters but are in no way are connected.

Quick Single: Ansari quits cricket for legal profession

"My decision was definitely unrelated to Zafar Ansari's, but I did read about his decision in the press and I respected him for doing that," Carters said. 

"He's a guy who's had a wonderful cricket career at relatively young age and I respect his courage to put an end to that chapter in his life and follow his passion into law and academic pursuits."


Unlike Carters, Ansari had made it to the highest level having played three Tests for England last year as a left-arm spinner and stylish middle-order batsman.

While the prospect of donning a Baggy Green is the aspiration for every aspiring young cricketer in Australia, Carters says his decision would remain the same even if he owned one of those treasured caps or was close to national selection.

"Growing up as a cricketer like all young boys it was a dream of mine to play for Australia and it was very much an ambition in my cricketing career," he said. 

"At the same time I very much developed a philosophy of trying to enjoy the cricket that I play and appreciate the game and challenge of trying to be the best cricketer that you can be more so than focusing on external things like that. 

"If I had been close to that (Australia) setup I don't think it would have made a difference. 

"If I'm being true to myself now is the right time to end my cricket career."

Quick Single: Eight cricketers who retired too soon

It's a career worth celebrating.

A Sheffield Shield title with the Blues in 2013-14, a BBL final in 2015, the second-most runs by a NSW batsman in his debut year, a double-ton against New Zealand, just to name a few standout moments.

While those facts and figures will never be lost to scorecards and stories, one thing that can't be represented by words or numbers are the friendships Carters has made in his eight years as a professional athlete.

When asked about what he'll miss most about cricket, Carters didn't hesitate.

"It will absolutely be the relationships and the camaraderie," he replied. 

"We become very close in cricket because we spend so much time together and go through ups and downs together as teammates and coaches and support staff. 

"I'll certainly miss being part of that community in a day-to-day sense although the friendships will last a lifetime. 

"I'll also miss the simple enjoyment of picking up a bat and playing cricket and challenging myself on the field. 

"It's something I've loved since I was three years old when I first picked up a cricket bat. 

"That will be a hard thing to let go in some ways."