Eight cricketers who retired too soon

Following the shock retirement of Zafar Ansari, we take a look at some other cricketers who left the game too soon

Barney Gibson

The youngest ever first-class player in the history of English county cricket, Gibson retired from the game at the age of just 19, four years after he famously made his Yorkshire debut. Gibson, a wicketkeeper-batsman, debuted for the northern county against Durham University in 2011, just 27 days after his 15th birthday. But having spent the years after playing second XI cricket, Gibson retired in 2015 to pursue other career opportunities.

Kevin Pietersen

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While the South African-born former England player continues to thrive in T20 cricket around the world, his brilliant international career was brought to a premature end in 2014 at the age of 33. After a career that was chequered with controversies, Pietersen was a major casualty of the upheaval in English cricket following their disastrous 2013-14 Ashes whitewash and hasn’t been selected for England since.

James Taylor

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Riding the highest point of his international career, Taylor's career came to a sad and sudden end when he was forced to retire in April 2016 at the age of just 26. After a serious health scare at a training session, the diminutive batsman was diagnosed with a heart condition that required him to give the game away, just as he looked set to forge a solid career for England.

Simon Cook

Having played two Tests for Australia in 1997, paceman Cook retired from the game in 2004 at the age of 32 due to a string of serious injuries. Chief among them was what he labelled "the roller accident" in which he was momentarily pinned under a council steamroller and sustained four broken ribs and serious muscle damage. Coupled with two broken ankles and an ongoing back problem towards the end of his career, he was forced into an early exit.

Beau Casson

A left-arm wrist-spinner who played one Test for Australia in 2008, Casson was forced to retire at the age of 28 due to the effects of a long-term heart condition. Having had heart surgery as a child, Casson had successfully managed the ongoing condition throughout his career and ascended to the Test side when he made his international debut against the West Indies in Babados. But after doctors warned the spinner that his life could be at risk if he continued playing, he called time on his career in 2011.

Craig Kieswetter

Player of the final at the 2010 World T20, Kieswetter looked destined for big things after leading England to their first-ever global trophy. But he retired in 2015 at the age of 27 having suffered serious facial injuries when he was struck by a bouncer in a match the previous year. His initial attempts to return from injury were hampered by ongoing vision issues and, having accepted that he would be unable to return to his absolute best, he decided to call it quits. Kieswetter has since tried his hand at another sport, recently starting a new life as professional golfer.

Mark Boucher

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A highly-respected mainstay of South Africa's side for almost 15 years, Boucher's career was nonetheless cut short when he suffered a serious eye injury early on South Africa's tour of England in 2012. Having been struck by a flying bail in a warm-up match, the wicketkeeper was ruled out of the entire series and - having planned to retire at the end of the tour - confirmed his early exit from the game. 

Zafar Ansari

A promising allrounder who made his Test debut last October, Ansari shocked English cricket this week when he announced he was retiring from the sport at the age of 25. A slow left-arm orthodox bowler and left-hand batter, Ansari said he wanted to pursue other opportunities and was contemplating a career in law.

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