Essex County Cricket Club stalwart Graham Napier has announced his plans to retire from the professional game at the end of the 2016 season. Napier will take up a role at the Royal Hospital School (RHS), Suffolk, as Director of the Graham Napier Cricket Academy at RHS, as his 19-year career with the county draws to a close.
Napier made his debut for the club in 1997, and has gone on to play 157 First-Class matches, 213 List A games and 97 Twenty20 clashes for his county.
Cricket Committee Chairman, Ronnie Irani, paid tribute to the long serving all-rounder: “Graham has had a fabulous career in all three formats of the game for us, and has been the very definition of loyalty over the past 19 years which is what Essex County Cricket Club and its supporters are all about. We naturally wish Graham all the best with his next career move and he will be sorely missed.”
Graham Napier said: “The opportunity at RHS is one that I could not turn down. I feel the time is right to move on, and give back to the game that has given me so much. I have loved every second of playing for Essex, and will be doing my best to make sure I retire with a bang at the end of the season.”
The Graham Napier Cricket Academy at the Royal Hospital School launches in September 2016 with the aim of establishing a high profile centre of cricketing excellence which develops young cricketers to fulfil their potential as well as promoting participation at all levels and ages.
Headmaster of the Royal Hospital School, Simon Lockyer, said: “We are delighted that Graham has agreed to work with the School building upon the excellent reputation for cricket built up over the past 23 years by Don Topley and his team of coaches. With Graham’s extensive experience the Academy will take provision at the Royal Hospital School to the next stage, widening access to the sport for both girls and boys throughout the region.”