Middlesex lynchpin Tim Murtagh announces retirement from professional cricket

Middlesex Cricket confirmed that Tim Murtagh will be retiring from professional cricket at the end of the season. The veteran seamer, now aged 42, is named in Middlesex’s squad to face Warwickshire this week in the penultimate match of our 2023 LV= Insurance County Championship campaign, and if selected to play, will make the 264th First-Class appearance of his career, and his 91st First-Class appearance at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Murtagh joined Middlesex from Surrey at the start of the 2007 season, having already played 128 career matches and taken 182 wickets for our London rivals between 2000 and 2006 in all three forms of the game.

In his first season with Middlesex Murtagh made 39 appearances for the Club and took a total of 82 wickets in all competitions, playing in thirteen of Middlesex’s sixteen County Championship matches in his debut year.

Murtagh has been one of the first names on the Middlesex team-sheet in First-Class cricket since, proving ever-reliable with ball in hand. He has to date made 213 First-Class appearances for the Club, picking up a staggering 835 wickets in the process, at an average of just 23.63.

In nine separate seasons Murtagh has taken more than 50 First-Class wickets for Middlesex, with the 85 wickets he took in the Club’s promotion winning year of 2011 being the best season of his career. He has taken five wickets in a First-Class innings on 35 separate occasions for the Club and ten wickets in a match five times, with best bowling figures of 7 for 82, taken against Derbyshire in 2009.

Whilst less prolific in white-ball cricket, he has made a further 86 List-A appearances for the Club, taking 119 wickets at 27.17, and 59 T20 appearances, taking 53 wickets at 30.03.

In total, in 358 appearances for Middlesex, he has taken 1,007 wickets in all three formats of the game, taking his 1,000th wicket against Kent in the LV= Insurance County Championship match at Lord’s earlier this season, when taking ten wickets in the match for the fifth time in his career.

He has played in two promotion winning campaigns for Middlesex, in 2011 and in 2022, played in the Club’s T20 winning campaign of 2008, and played a leading role in Middlesex’s County Championship title success of 2016.

At the start of this year, the Club announced that in 2023 Murtagh would be fulfilling a Player/Coach role, working with the bowling group when not in playing action himself. It is via this route that Murtagh’s relationship with Middlesex will continue, with the Club offering him a full-time Coaches’ role when he retires from playing the game.

Speaking of Murtagh’s retirement, the Club’s Director of Cricket, Alan Coleman, said, “Players like Murts come along so rarely, that when you get one, you need to count your blessings. He is an absolute gem of a bloke, both on and off the field.

“As a player he has always led from the front, gives absolutely everything, and is a Captain’s dream – one of those bowlers that you can throw the ball to and know what you’re going to get, week in, week out. He is the model of consistency and reliability, and just keeps doing what he does best.

“To have achieved such incredible figures over a sustained period in his career, despite not having the out and out pace that many other seamers possess, shows just how skilful he is with the ball. He really is a master of seam and swing bowling and is one of the modern day’s best exponents of the art.

“Off the field, he is one of those blokes that every side needs to have around. He is respected by the group, keeps the mood upbeat, and is a friend to everyone.

“Whilst we’re sad that we won’t be able to call upon Murts’ skills on the field anymore, we’re thrilled that he will still be around the group and playing a leading role in continuing to develop the players we have here at Middlesex.

“I’ve been hugely impressed with how quickly he has taken to coaching, and the impact he has had in a short space of time, and I am looking forward to seeing him develop these skills in the next chapter of his career.”

On hanging up his bowling boots, Tim Murtagh himself commented, “I’ve had these words mulling around in my head for around ten years, but now is the time to put them onto paper. It’s with a great deal of pride and a tinge of sadness that I announce my retirement from cricket at the end of this season. Its finally time to hang up the speed menace boots (the irony is not lost on me) after an incredible 25 years of joy playing professional sport.

“It really has been my life and a pleasure to have been lucky enough to live out my childhood dreams for such a long time. I’ll get round the people who have helped me on this journey individually in the coming months. But for now, I want to thank my parents Dom and Liz for being so supportive right from my childhood all the way through my career alongside my brother and sister. To my wife Karina who has been my rock for the past fifteen years, none of this would have been possible without you – at times singlehandedly raising our two amazing boys while I swanned off on another cricket tour.

“It’s been an incredible honour to have played for this great club since 2007 and I am grateful to everyone who made me feel instantaneously at home here. Right up to the present management in helping me transition out of playing this year. I still hope to play a big part in keeping us in Division One these last two weeks.

“Moving forward I can’t wait to help the next generation of Middlesex cricketers live out their own dreams as I move onto the coaching staff and the next phase of my life.”