David Willey retires from international cricket following England central contract snub

Written by Mohan Sharma

David Willey has retired from international cricket at the age of 33.

The left-arm seamer played over 100 times for England in white-ball cricket, with his retirement coming during England’s World Cup campaign and eight days after he was the only member of their squad not to be offered a central contract by the ECB.

Willey will continue to be available for selection for England until the end of the World Cup.

“I never wanted this day to come,” Willey said in a statement posted on X (formerly Twitter). “From a young boy, I’ve only ever dreamed of playing cricket for England. So, with careful thought and consideration, it is with great regret that I feel the time has come for me to retire from all forms of international cricket at the end of the World Cup.

“I have worn the shirt with immense pride and given my absolute everything to the badge on my chest. I’ve been very lucky to be part of such an incredible white ball team with some of the best players in the world. I’ve made some special memories and great friends along the way and been through some very difficult times.

“To my wife, two children, mum and dad, I wouldn’t have been able to follow my dreams without your sacrifice and unwavering support throughout. Thank you for sharing the special memories and picking up the pieces when I’ve fallen apart – I’m eternally grateful.

“I feel I still have a lot more to give on and off the field while I am still playing my best cricket, and my decision has nothing to do with our performance during the World Cup. I’m sure everybody who knows me does not doubt that, whatever my involvement in the remainder of this campaign, I will give my everything and more! That’s the only way I know.”

England’s campaign has lurched from bad to worse since they touched down in India as one of the favourites for the World Cup. They have lost five of six games so far, already effectively out of semi-final contention, with their qualification for the 2025 Champions Trophy also in danger due to their poor performance.

Some have pointed the finger for England’s failings at the ECB’s handling of the central contract offers from 2023 onwards. Including multi-year deals for the first time, the list of contracted cricketers was confirmed during the World Cup.

“There’ll have been talk every single day about those contracts: ‘Who’s got what? What have you got? How much are you getting?’ It’s a complete and utter distraction, and it should have been sorted before, and if it wasn’t sorted before, we’ve got to leave it until the end of the World Cup,” said Michael Vaughan on the Club Prairie Fire Podcast.

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Mohan Sharma