TWENTY20 bowling world record holder Arul Suppiah has been forced to retire because of serious injuries in both knees.
In recent months there has been a rapid deterioration in Suppiah’s condition and the 29-year-old has been advised to take stop playing immediately.
Suppiah was born in Malaysia and arrived at Millfield School on a cricket scholarship at the age of 13 since when he has played for Somerset.
He played through the age groups and made his first class debut for the county in 2002.
The top order batsman and left arm spinner got his opportunity to play regularly in 2005 and hit his maiden first class century, 123 at Derbyshire.
In 2009 he hit over 1,000 Championship runs for the first time and also took 15 wickets and 18 catches which resulted in the award of his Somerset cap. A brilliant fielder, Suppiah was a member of the squad which won the 2005 Twenty20 Cup, playing in several of the group games.
In 2011 and 2012 he played in every First Class match and in 2011 he opened the innings with Andrew Strauss, recordeding his career best of 156 against India at Taunton.
Earlier this year, along with Marcus Trescothick, he achieved the feat of scoring 5,000 runs in opening partnerships at an impressive average of 55.
Suppiah gained international renown when he set a world T20 bowling record by taking 6-5 against Glamorgan at Cardiff in July 2011 and rounded the season off by being awarded his British Citizenship.
This year he is enjoying a well- earned benefit for his 13 years of loyalty to Somerset and has appeared for the first team in several games.
Suppiah: “I am devastated to have to retire from the game that I have always loved.
“This is the hardest decision of my life, especially having played for Somerset for so long.
“After consultation with the specialist, I realise I have no choice but to retire.
“I have so many happy memories of my time at Somerset and would like to thank everybody from players, staff and members who have supported me during my playing career at the County.
“Somerset will always be my county and from the other side of the boundary ropes I shall continue to support the lads in every way I can.”
Chief executive Guy Lavender said: “Arul might not have been born in the county but he is thought of as a real local.
“He has given so much to cricket in Somerset and it is a great shame that he has to retire in these circumstances.
“Not only is he an exceptional cricketer, he is a superb chap and I am certain that the next phase of his career will be as successful as the first.
“I am sure that all Somerset members and cricket lovers will continue to support his remaining benefit year events.
“Arul will be greatly missed by all the players and staff and we would like to thank him on behalf of all the members for everything that he has done for Somerset and wish him every success for the future.”