Few regrets as James Marshall ends career

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 26/03/2013
James Marshall
Chris Hillock/Fairfax NZ
RIGHT TIME: James Marshall is retiring.

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The most prolific batsman in Northern Districts history felt the time was just right to end his career.

James Marshall yesterday announced his retirement after 16 years as a top-order batsman with the Knights, including a long stint as captain.

The 34-year-old, who missed the latter stages of the domestic one-day campaign with a calf injury, ends his career with 7422 first-class runs. He made over 6000 first-class runs for the Knights to head the association's record books, did the same in the one-day arena with 3755 runs, and also took a century of first-class catches for the side.

Marshall told the Waikato Times a full-time career opportunity with Barfoot & Thompson Commercial in Auckland heavily swayed his decision to call time.

"It was already in the pipeline before the injury. I just felt this was the right time for myself, my family and the opportunity that came really tipped it over the line," Marshall said.

"I'm very comfortable with the decision. I still feel I could probably play a season or two more. I'm still loving the environment at ND and I still had the ambition to play for New Zealand.

"But I looked at the flipside which is my family with my wife and my son and where we want to be 10 years down the line, and this opportunity was the reason for making the decision a lot easier."

The diminutive right-handed batsman, twin brother of Hamish, made his first-class debut for Northern Districts as a teenager in the 1997-98 season and ended with 126 first-class appearances for the association; a record for any New Zealand domestic player with one team.

Capable of scoring runs quickly and with panache in his cutting and driving, Marshall was a superb runner between the wickets and an outstanding fielder but his short international career - seven tests, 10 one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals - didn't do his talent justice.

"I would've enjoyed being a bit more successful at international level; having a longer crack there, which you can only really put down to yourself. Maybe that's the only little regret I have."

Northern Districts coach Grant Bradburn, who is also stepping down from his role, said he wasn't surprised Marshall was snapped up by the business world.

"James is a strong communicator and astute leader who leaves an outstanding legacy for the Knights.

"He can be hugely proud not only of his contribution to Northern Districts cricket and the records that he holds, but the high regard in which I know he is held by cricketers throughout the country," Bradburn said.

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Marshall said he would miss being part of the Knights. "I'll miss the the banter of the guys.

"I had some great battles and some great emotional moments when we won competitions."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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