James Tomlinson has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.
The 34-year-old seamer, who made his Hampshire debut back in 2002, has called time on a 14-year career which saw him claim 419 wickets across all formats.
Tomlinson, who will remain at the Ageas Bowl to coach the club’s youngsters, has been a popular figure among fans during his time with the club – not only for his on-pitch contributions but also for his humorous personality.
The Winchester-born left-armer said: ‘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.
‘It’s been a privilege to play first-class cricket for Hampshire and I would like to thank the following:
‘My brothers, Hugh and Ralph, and Wasim Akram.
‘All the coaches and captains that have picked me.
‘The physios and fitness coaches who have kept me going.
‘The Hampshire members and the rest of my family for their constant support.
‘My bowling partners who showed me what was required for first-class cricket.
‘The slip cordon and the Dukes ball.
‘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!’