South Australian paceman Chadd Sayers has announced his retirement from professional cricket, revealing next week’s Sheffield match against Victoria will be his last.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday morning, Sayers conceded he was not guaranteed a state contract for the 2021/22 season and subsequently decided to call it quits.
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“The way the SACA are going, we haven’t won a lot of games in the past five or six years and we’re struggling to bowl sides out at the moment,” Sayers said.
“So they mentioned they were going to look elsewhere and whether or not that meant I was going to get a contract was another thing, but I wanted to go out on my own terms.
“I didn’t want to get tapped on the shoulder and told, ‘You’re done’.
“It has been an absolute honour to play for my home state of South Australia all this time, and I’m looking forward to taking the field with the lads one last time this weekend.”
Sayers has played 70 Sheffield Shield games for South Australia since making his first-class debut in March 2011, claiming 278 wickets at 25.82.
Only Tasmania’s Jackson Bird has taken more Sheffield Shield wickets than the 33-year-old since his first-class debut.
Sayers will end his first-class career as South Australia’s third-highest wicket-taker in history, sitting behind the legendary Clarrie Grimmett and Ashley Mallett.
South Australian coach Jason Gillespie told reporters on Thursday: “Everyone at SACA congratulates and thanks Chadd for his impressive and unwavering service to the state for the last decade and wishes him well for the next stage of his life, including enjoying time with his young family.
“Chadd will always be welcome through the gates of Adelaide Oval, and he will remain a benchmark for our bowlers and young players for years to come.”
Most Sheffield Shield wickets for South Australia
Clarrie Grimmett — 504 @ 25.55
Ashley Mallett — 344 @ 23.75
Chadd Sayers — 278 @ 25.82
Tim May — 270 @ 36.82
Joe Mennie — 256 @ 27.11
Sayers played one Test match for Australia in 2018, opening the bowling alongside Josh Hazlewood and snaring two wickets — including modern great AB de Villiers — against South Africa in Johannesburg.
The swing maestro earned a call-up to the national squad following a phenomenal 2016/17 campaign, where he mustered 62 wickets in 11 matches and was named Sheffield Shield Player of the Year.
“In this industry, wickets is the currency and if you’re taking enough wickets then you’re always going to be looked at, whatever grade you’re playing,” Sayers said.
“My philosophy was a good ball is a good ball, no matter who you’re bowling to or what bowler you are.
“Everyone has said, ‘Can you put a couple of kilos on or get a bit more pace out of yourself?’ but I thought what I was doing was good enough, and it’s shown in my career.
“I got players out regardless of how fast you bowl.”
Most wickets in a Sheffield Shield series
Colin Miller (TAS), 1997/98 — 67
Shaun Tait (SA), 2004/05 — 65
Chadd Sayers (SA), 2016/17 — 62
Chuck Fleetwood-Smith (VIC), 1934/35 — 60
Andy Bichel (QLD), 2004/05 — 60
Ben Hilfenhaus (TAS), 2006/07 — 60
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Sports reporter Matt Turner tweeted: “Sayers had to work harder than most to prove detractors wrong. Should’ve played for SA far earlier than he did (debuted at 23) given he’d dominated grade cricket for years but was pigeonholed re height & lack of pace. Also should’ve played more than 1 Test. A stellar career.”
The Age’s Daniel Cherny posted: “Chadd Sayers the last of the Mohicans in some respects. Never played a BBL game, so wouldn’t have made anywhere near the riches of some contemporaries. Wasn’t express by any stretch but no smart that he willed his way to Shield domination and one more Test than most of us.”
ESPNcricinfo’s Daniel Brettig tweeted: “Next to Damien Fleming, Sayers high up on the list of Aust swing bowlers who really should have played Test matches in England ahead of tearaways who couldn’t make the most of the Dukes ball.”
Still searching for their first win of the 2020/21 season, South Australia will take on Victoria at the MCG from Saturday.