A top English cricketer has taken retirement announcements to new heights, comparing himself to an "old dog with half a leg missing and an ear hanging off".

In the comical statement on his Hampshire club's website, the 34-year-old James Tomlinson departed with what has been described as the "greatest retirement statement in the history of English cricket".

The left arm pace bowler thanked opposing batsmen, slip fielders and even the Dukes cricket ball for boosting his career.

He stated: "I remember years ago watching a nature documentary that followed a pack of wild dogs on a hunt.


"At the front of the pack there were the young and keen dogs who couldn't wait to get stuck in, then in the middle were the experienced, healthy dogs who knew what they were doing and held the pack together.

"But I will never forget the image of one old dog at the back of the pack trying to keep up. He had half a leg missing and an ear hanging off from what must have been years of previous battles.

"When he finally arrived at the scene all that was left were scraps... Although I was once both the young dog at the front and the healthy dog in the middle I feel now is the right time to head back to the den.

"I now have the opportunity to do just that and look after all the young dogs coming through. A job I already love and cherish."

Tomlinson added: "...however I would most like to thank the opposition batters who somehow for over a decade missed the straight ones and nicked the half volleys... to you all I will be forever grateful!"

England and Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes said: "Typical Tommo! Legend of a bloke! Good luck fella, hope it goes well!" And former international Graeme Swann tweeted that it could be cricket's finest hour when it came to retirement announcements.

Tomlinson has taken more than 400 wickets in various formats for Hampshire since 2002.