The batsman many judge as Ireland’s greatest calls it quits just a week after making his Test debut.
Ed Joyce, who many regard as Ireland’s greatest-ever batsman, has retired from all forms of cricket with immediate effect.
The left-hander made his Test debut just last week in Ireland’s inaugural Test, against Pakistan. He made 43 in his last knock for his country to set up a second-innings total of 339 as Ireland raised hopes of completing a stunning comeback victory.
Though he played a key role in Ireland’s qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, Joyce’s ODI debut came for England against the country of his birth in 2006. He made one century for his adopted team, against Australia in Sydney in 2007, but enjoyed his best years after switching back to Ireland ahead of the Cricket World Cup 2011. He averaged 41.36 in 61 ODIs for Ireland and made five centuries.
Perhaps his finest moments on the international stage came in Ireland’s 2015 World Cup campaign. He made a century in Ireland’s win over Zimbabwe, and a half-century in their victory over West Indies, both of which were regarded as upsets.
Joyce also starred in county cricket in England, at one point scoring 1,000 runs in seven consecutive seasons. His sole Test for Ireland proved his swansong, but many felt he was unlucky not to make a Test debut for England. He retires with a first-class average of 47.95 from 255 games, with 47 hundreds and a high score of 250.
Joyce will still be involved in Irish cricket, however. He will take up a new role overseeing leadership development and as a batting coach in the Irish performance system.
“I feel now is the right time to stop playing and get started on a new chapter,” said Joyce. :The recent Test match against Pakistan was such an incredible few days and was the perfect game for me to say was my last in professional cricket.
“I am very grateful to Cricket Ireland for giving me the opportunity to get involved in the coaching set-up. I know I have a huge amount to learn about the art of coaching, but I know I also have a huge amount of knowledge that I’m determined to pass on to the next generation of Irish talent.”
There have been plenty of tributes pouring in. “It is pretty hard to sum up in just a few words how much of an impact Ed has had on Irish cricket and how much of an all-round great person he is,” said Ireland captain William Porterfield. “He is the person, from my era, that showed that being a professional cricketer was a tangible dream across the water. He inspired a whole generation to show that it is possible.
“He is someone that I have always looked up to and to have had the opportunity to play with him for the past few years has been an absolute privilege. He will be a great miss in the changing rooms, not only for his runs, but the person he is. A lot of us, not least the young lads, have learned so much from him.”
It’s not just former teammates who are sad to see Joyce go. “It is always a sad occasion when a top-quality cricketer calls time on his career,” said Ireland head coach Graham Ford. “Ed’s brilliant performance statistics show clearly what an outstanding player he has been.
“Over the years cricketing fans have greatly enjoyed watching many a fine performance from Ed. Sadly his batting qualities will no longer be available to our national team. As the national team coach it is however very comforting to know that Ed’s vast cricketing knowledge and experience will still be a part of our system and will play a vital role in developing future Irish cricketing stars.”