CRICKET: BIRMINGHAM-born cricketer Ian Westwood has announced his retirement from the sport following a 15-year playing career.
The opening batsman and former skipper of the Warwickshire Bears played his first cricket as a Bear in Warwickshire’s Under 11s age-group team.
He came through the development of excellence programme to make his first class debut against India A in 2003 and went on to be part of the team that won the County Championship title in 2004 and was later made club captain in 2009.
After standing down as captain in 2010, the 34-year-old played a key role in helping Warwickshire to the County Championship title again in 2012.
He retires having played 159 first class games for the club, scoring 16 centuries.
Speaking after announcing his retirement, Westwood said playing for his home county was all he ever wanted to do as a junior.
He added: “I am very proud to have enjoyed a 15-year career where I have been part of teams that have won the County Championship, and also captained the club.
“It has been a very difficult decision to retire, but this is the right time and I would like to thank the many people that have supported me throughout, particularly the players and coaches who I have worked with, club members and of course my family.
“I’m now going to enjoy a period with my family, but certainly intend to remain in cricket and will be a regular visitor to Edgbaston to catch up with the lads and support the Bears.”
Firs team coach Jim Troughton, who previously played with Westwood for 12 years, said: “Ian typified the character and professionalism needed to be a true Bear.
“Opening the batting in Division One Championship cricket is a real test of skill and temperament and he has exhibited this throughout his career.
“He has captained the club and been an integral part of our success over the last 13 years and he should be very proud of what he has achieved.”