Cricket: Sayers was a batting ‘rock’ says Moxon

Joe Sayers.

Joe Sayers.

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YORKSHIRE’S director of professional cricket Martyn Moxon has paid tribute to Joe Sayers after the batsman announced his retirement from the first-class game.

The left-hander, who only turned 30 in November, yesterday quit after scoring almost 5,000 runs for the county.

Leeds-born Sayers played his entire county career with Yorkshire, amassing nine centuries since debuting in 2004, captaining the white rose and, also, representing England Lions.

However, he has struggled at times since being diagnosed with Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome in 2010 and, though impressively returning to action from the debilitating condition a year later, spent much of last season in Yorkshire’s second XI after a loss of form.

“Obviously, things haven’t quite panned out as he or we would have liked for the last couple of years since his illness,” said Moxon.

“He’s not quite reached the heights of prior to that.

“It’s a shame he’s had to make this decision but I think, in the circumstances, it’s the right thing for him and the club.”

When asked about the player’s qualities, Moxon said: “Joe was someone who was the rock of the batting line-up at his best, someone you could rely on to blunt the new ball and go on and score big hundreds.

“But he also had the ability to take on the opposition in one-day cricket too; he could free his hands and was very flexible in where he could bat.

“As a member of the dressing room, he was very highly regarded. He captained the side as well at times and was vice-captain too. He brought a lot of sense, knowledge and calmness within the group. He’s been a good servant to Yorkshire CCC.”

The club is unlikely to look to replace the player, who averaged 32.58 from his 97 first-class matches with them and struck a career-best 187 against Kent at Tunbridge Wells in 2007.

Sayers endured an horrific time with the chronic fatigue illness which he revealed was so acute that it often left him needing to go to bed at 3pm in the afternoon.

His most prolific season was in 2009 when he amassed 1150 first-class runs for Yorkshire, form which alerted the international selectors who drafted him in as a replacement for Jonathan Trott in the England Lions side.

Sayers did play in a friendly against Australia and subsequently toured South Africa on an England Performance Programme camp but his illness problems started when he suffered gastroenteritis in Pretoria.

In a brief statement, he said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a professional cricketer with Yorkshire. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody associated with the Club, in particular the supporters, and I wish the lads all the best for the 2014 season.”

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