NSW wicketkeeper-batsman Ryan Carters has retired from all forms of professional cricket to focus on studying and the Batting for Change charity he founded.
Carters leaves the game aged just 26, with 2,515 first-class run in a 43-match career that included five centuries and a Sheffield Shield title.
Quick Single: Carters explains genesis of Batting for Change
Carters started his career with Victoria in 2009, making his first-class debut a summer later, before switching to NSW in 2013, a move that brought tremendous success both on and off the field.
"I'm extremely grateful for the support of Cricket NSW since I started at the Blues in 2013 – it has been a wonderful place to play cricket," Carters said. "However, I'm now ready to pursue new kinds of challenges.
It's time to hang up my bat and gloves, and start writing a new chapter. Thank you for all the special memories.— Ryan Carters (@Ryan_Carters) May 12, 2017
"I've had twin passions in my life since I can remember – cricket and learning.
"I'm at the point where, after eight rewarding years of professional cricket, it's time for me to follow the other path I've always felt as strongly about.
"I've always been conscious that you can't play cricket forever.
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"I'm ready to see if I can find a way to work for social change, for greater fairness in life, away from my sporting pursuits.
"I'm sure it won't be easy to do that, so the sooner I can get started, the better."
While Carters finishes his career with a fine first-class record, a Sheffield Shield title and a number of standout performances, perhaps his biggest achievement has come off the field where he founded the Batting for Change charity that helps provide education for disadvantaged women in cricket playing countries around the world.
Every six hit by the Sydney Sixers in the KFC Big Bash League, along with pledges and donations, raises funds for the charity, a concept that is fronted by Carters and ambassadors including Moises Henriques, Alyssa Healy, Nic Maddinson and Stephen O'Keefe.
The cause raised $30,000 for the LBW Trust in its inaugural year in 2013 and has continued to grow, exceeding it's $150,000 target during BBL|06.
In the past four years, the funds generated by Batting for Change have supported the construction of classrooms in Kathmandu, Nepal, and assisted more than 1,000 women in India and Sri Lanka with university education.
"In Australia, as in many other countries, professional sportspeople have a reach and reputation, an ability to influence, that is far outside the boundaries of their sporting achievements." Carters said.
"I've never been more grateful for that than when I founded Batting for Change and watched it grow and directly transform the lives of disadvantaged young women in need of higher education."
Carters made his first-class debut for Victoria against the touring England side in 2010, opening the batting and making 16 in his maiden knock before posting 68 in the second innings.
The right-hander played 10 matches for Victoria where he managed only one-half century and an average of 16.24 before deciding to move north after four seasons with the Bushrangers.
The change of scenery worked wonders for Carters who made an immediate impact with his new state.
In the 2013-14 season, Carters was the Blues leading run-scorer with 861 at 53.81, the second-most runs ever in a debut season for NSW behind Mark Taylor's 937 in 1985-86.
NSW won the Sheffield Shield final that year, with Carters making 72 in the first innings of the drawn match against Western Australia in Canberra.
Further success came when he scored 209 against New Zealand in 2015, combining with Aaron Finch (288no) to post 503 for the first wicket at Blacktown.
Carters finished his career with undefeated century in the first grade final of the NSW Premier Cricket competition to deliver Sydney University the title.
His move echoes that of England Test player Zafar Ansari, who last month quit cricket to pursue a career in law.
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Cricket New South Wales CEO Andrew Jones was full of praise for Carters and his efforts on and off the field.
"Ryan's retirement comes as a shock at the age of just 26 but he has always had a strong view about life beyond cricket," Jones said.
"His achievements with Batting for Change have been stunning and have made a genuine and lasting difference to hundreds of women far less fortunate than any of us.
"Ryan is a very good cricketer who was integral to the NSW Sheffield Shield win in 2013-14, scoring 861 runs during the season and making a strong contribution in the final.
"He played the finishing role to perfection so often in the Matador Cup and his marathon innings during the first grade final to ensure Sydney University the premiership highlighted an unshakable commitment to all the teams he represented.
"Cricket NSW has been blessed to have Ryan Carters. He will always be part of the NSW cricket family. Well done, and thank you."