Hilfenhaus retires from first-class cricket

Tasmania paceman calls time on longest format but will continue with Melbourne Stars in BBL

Former Test quick Ben Hilfenhaus has given in to his troublesome body and called time on his first-class career.

The 32-year-old, who will continue to ply his trade in Twenty20 cricket, retires after 104 first-class matches, including 27 Tests for Australia.

The right-armer, who has been part of three successful Sheffield Shield campaigns for the Tigers, has played just six Shield matches over the past two seasons and says his body is no longer up to the rigours of first-class cricket.

Quick Single: Hilfenhaus more grunt than glamour

"I've had to make a decision with regards to my body not being able to perform at the level I'd like in four-day cricket anymore," he told

"Everyone gets old eventually and after a little bit of thinking and making some decisions, I think this is my best way forward - to hang up the boots from the red-ball game.

"It's getting harder and harder to back up day after day and bowl the amount of overs that's required for four-day cricket. I guess my body is just getting older.

"I've had a problem with my hamstring attachment for pretty much the whole summer. That hasn't really gone away which tells me I need a little break from the game for the short-term, have a mini pre-season and get myself fit and strong and ready to play white-ball cricket for the Melbourne Stars."

Hilfenhaus announced himself on the domestic scene in 2006-07, just his second season with Tasmania, taking a record-breaking 60 wickets as the Tigers stormed to their first-ever Shield title.

That performance put the former bricklayer on the radar of national selectors and he ultimately made his Test debut against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2009, along with Marcus North and the late Phillip Hughes.

Ben Hilfenhaus
Australia's Jo'Burg debutants - North, Hughes and Hilfenhaus // Getty Images

He played a crucial role in Australia's stunning series win over the Proteas and then claimed an impressive 22 wickets on the losing Ashes tour later that year.

The high point of his Test career came in the summer of 2011-12 against India, when he took 27 wickets at 17 in a 4-0 series whitewash, including his maiden five-wicket haul at the MCG.

He ends his career with 99 Test wickets from 27 Tests, falling agonisingly short of becoming the 37th Australian to join the 100 club.

"I'll definitely take that," he said reflecting on his time in Test cricket that spanned three-and-a-half years.

"Over the past few years I've had a few niggles and things that have affected the way I've performed in red-ball cricket and it is what it is.

"To get the opportunity to play one Test was a great honour, so to play 27, I would have taken that at the start of my career, that's for sure.

"At the end of the day it's just a number, isn't it? Ninety-nine or 100 (wickets).

"I didn't start playing the game for personal accolades of taking 'x' amount of wickets or whatever.

"I'm thankful and really honoured that I got the chance to play one Test match.

"That's where it sits with me and it was a real thrill to represent my country.

Hilfenhaus will enjoy some time away from the game this year before returning to the Stars in BBL|06 for the second year of his three-year contract, but more immediately decided against playing in this year's Indian Premier League. 

Ben Hilfenhaus
Hilfenhaus will continue his career as a T20 gun for hire // Getty Images

"I opted not to go to the IPL this year purely just to give my body a break," he said. "I feel like it's screaming at me a bit so I feel like I need to have a few months off to freshen up and to get my body in good nick. 

"Getting over my niggles is a priority at the moment to allow me to perform to a level that I expect of myself for the Stars ... in doing that hopefully I can pick up some gigs around the world.

"As long as my body can hold out in the T20 format I hopefully will be able to play for as long as I can.

"It makes the decision a little bit easier to hang up the boots from red-ball cricket; hopefully it will prolong the end of my white-ball career.

"I've still got that passion to play at that level.

"I'll try and play for as long as I can and I definitely feel like I've got a few years left in me, that's for sure."