Twenty years after his professional debut, Rikki Clarke will retire from cricket at the end of the 2021 season.
A true titan of the county game, Clarke has played 668 matches in his career to date for Surrey, Derbyshire, Warwickshire and England.
With 795 wickets, 587 catches and 17,750 runs to his name, Clarke has excelled in all three facets of the game.
In two spells at Surrey, he has won two County Championship titles, the 2003 Natwest Pro40 League and the inaugural Twenty20 Cup also in 2003. His first spell with Surrey also saw him earn his 22 England caps, with two Test and 20 ODI appearances spanning 2003 to 2006.
Away from The Kia Oval, he also won the 2012 County Championship, 2014 T20 Blast and 2016 Royal London One-Day Cup with Warwickshire.
Clarke was first spotted by Surrey when he was invited to a 10 week training course with the Club as a nine-year-old. When he was named Player of the Course, he received his award from Alec Stewart who would later go on to be his teammate and latterly his Director of Cricket.
After signing professional terms in 2000, he made his first-team debut as part of Adam Hollioake’s trophy-chasing side in 2001. He remained at The Oval until the end of the 2007 season, when he moved to Derbyshire to become Club captain. He stayed just one season at Derbyshire, finding a more permanent home at Warwickshire between 2008 and 2017.
He returned to The Kia Oval midway through the 2017 season and has been a vital member of the first team squad since, including 47 wickets and 500 runs in the 2018 County Championship winning season.
Rikki would like to share the following message:
When I started as a professional back in 2000 I could have only dreamt of the career that was to follow. Making my List A debut in 2001 and First Class debut in 2002 started my long journey in the professional game. A particular highlight of mine will always be my ODI and Test debuts in 2003. To represent my country 22 times can never be taken away and memories that I will look back on with immense pride. Of course I would have loved to have played more but it just wasn’t meant to be.
I have played with and against some amazing cricketers throughout my 22 seasons and amongst them made some friends for life. To Surrey & Warwickshire I thank you for the amazing times and the success that I was able to experience while wearing your badges. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of successful teams and to win all domestic trophies 2/3 times over. To Derbyshire I thank for the opportunity to captain an amazing county and I only wish things could have turned out differently.
To Gray Nicolls, I thank you for the amazing service and continued support throughout my whole career, I can’t thank you enough for your generosity and backing. I hope I’m remembered as someone who was honest and played the game the right way. Playing it tough but would always have a beer afterwards regardless of the result. From the age of 9 when I started with Surrey Youth to my older days amongst the grumpiness and moaning will always be someone who cared about the game, loved the game and would always stick up for his teammates.
I am excited and honoured to be taking up a position with King Edward’s Witley as their head of cricket. A fantastic school with amazing facilities. It really is exciting times ahead and a start of a new chapter. Alongside my role at the school I am also very excited to be spending more time helping the next generation of cricketer with my Rikki Clarke Cricket Academy.
Finally I want to thank my family who have been there all the way through. Dealing with the highs and lows that professional sport brings. To my mum and dad I can’t thank you enough for everything you did for me and continue to do for me. Without you both this career would have never been possible. To my gorgeous wife Harriett and my two amazing kids Ella and Max, I hope I have made you all proud and that the sacrifices you have all had to make too with not seeing me as much because of cricket has all been worth it. I love you all like you wouldn’t believe.
It leaves me to say thank you to everyone that has supported me over the last 21 years. I hope I have entertained you and left a fondness in your hearts of a player that you loved to watch and someone who gave everything for the badge.
Surrey Director of Cricket Alec Stewart pays tribute to the career of the all-rounder:
“Firstly, I’d like to say congratulations to Rikki on an incredible career in the professional game. He should be very proud of his years of excellent service to the county game as well as the 22 international caps he earned. There is no greater honour than representing your country and we were delighted at Surrey that we were able to help him realise those ambitions earlier in his career.
“I first met Rikki when I awarded him with the Player of the Course pennant as a nine-year-old on the 10 week Nescafe training course with Surrey. Years later, he briefly became a teammate of mine as I approached the end of my playing days and his talent was evident to all in that dressing room.
“When the opportunity arose to bring him back to The Kia Oval in 2017, I didn’t hesitate. It proved to be an excellent move as both on and off the field he has been an integral part of the first team squad in the years since, including his outstanding performances throughout the 2018 Championship winning season.
“This year has been Rikki’s Testimonial and while it’s been difficult for him logistically due to the restrictions on events, we knew it was very important for the Club to recognise his contribution to Surrey and the wider game.
“Thank you Rikki for all of your efforts to add to the history of this great Club and I wish you all the best with your future endeavours. You’ll always be welcome at The Kia Oval.”