Nathan Hauritz, the former Australian Test spinner, has announced his retirement from competitive cricket on Tuesday (January 19), ending a 15-year playing career. The 34-year-old was an unused squad member in Melbourne Renegades' 27-run defeat to Adelaide Strikers on Monday that ended their hopes of making the Big Bash League 2015-16 semifinal.
Hauritz, who played picked 63 wickets in 17 Tests for Australia after debuting in Mumbai in 2004, had been relegated to a bit-part role with the Renegades, for whom he just played a solitary game this season. He had been out of a state contract for two years after being left out by Queensland in 2013-14 and struggled to perform at peak levels in the BBL.
"I was toying with it after I played with the [Sydney] Thunder and found out I wasn't going back there (after last season). But I got an offer from the Renegades at the same time, because they wanted to play two spinners," Hauritz said. "It was really tough that I wasn't playing and training at that level anymore to get straight into it. I felt the pressure a lot more than I usually had. This year, I felt that if things weren't 100 per cent right - I started to feel I was done - I don't want to go through more heartache or disappointment, [just] to try and finish on a high."
Hauritz's only match of the season came in a ten-wicket defeat to Perth Scorchers where Michael Klinger and Shaun Marsh took 29 off his two overs. The spinner said that performance was a clear indication that he was no longer capable of bowling himself out of such situations.
"I competed as hard as I could, but I just felt that me competing as hard as I could wasn't good enough," Hauritz said. "They were that night, but I just didn't have a different answer. I was just so shattered after the game. I realised I hadn't come down here to be that disappointed about a game of cricket anymore. I thought 'I don't need that anymore'. I just want to get away."
Hauritz had the onerous task of leading Australia's spin attack at a time when the Test side was grappling to come to terms with Shane Warne's retirement. While he was a prodigious turner of the ball, he lacked consistency to trouble batsmen across sessions. Good performances were few and far between.
The highlights of his Test career were the Boxing Day and New Year's Tests against Pakistan in 2009-10. In Melbourne he scored 75 and followed up with a 5 for 101 in the second innings. His 5 for 53 in Sydney was pivotal in Australia's remarkable turnaround, defending 176.
He enjoyed a slightly longer stint in One-Day Internationals, where he picked up 63 wickets from 58 games at an acceptable economy of 4.74. He was named in Australia's World Cup squad in 2011 but missed out after suffering a shoulder injury in an ODI against England at Hobart. He didn't play another game for Australia after that.
"The highs and lows of international cricket were too much. I need to get off that up-and-down rollercoaster and get back to a bit of normality in life," he said. "I have a lot of good memories, obviously a few bad ones mixed among them. But I'll definitely look back at my career very proud and very happy with what I achieved."
Hauritz will now fly to the UAE to play in the Masters Champions League but wishes to do his bit to give back to the sport by recruiting and mentoring promising spinners in Queensland. "I want to be able to go to games, watch these kids bowl and teach them my training strategies and what helped them improve. I want to get rid of that mantra that you're only a spinner when you're 26, 27.
"I want to be a shoulder to cry on. I always felt if I could have a mentor on call 24-7, even to catch up with for a beer to talk cricket, [it would have been great]. I feel a mentor for a spinner is essential," he said.