A YEAR after Durham advised Gordon Muchall to seek alternative employment he has announced he is to retire at the end of the season.
It will be the end of a 15-year career with his home county for the 33-year-old batsman, who is to take up a post at Durham City’s Bow School.
It’s not the worst time to get stuck into something else. I’ve had 15 good years with DurhamGordon Muchall
Muchall was told in the middle of last season he was likely to be released, but after scoring centuries at Arundel and the Ageas Bowl a one-year deal was offered.
Durham have tried to manage without him this season, but have now drafted him into the Twenty20 side following the failures of Graham Clark and Michael Richardson to nail down places in the top order.
Muchall said: “I’ve been helping out at Bow for the last few winters and now a job opportunity has come up. It’s not the worst time to get stuck into something else.
“I’ve had 15 good years with Durham. I feel in good form and if the opportunity comes up I would love to play some more four-day cricket before the end of the season.”
He pressed his claim by making 70 out of a total of 205 in this week’s rain-ruined match against Sri Lanka A, in which the final day and a half were washed out.
Along with Scott Borthwick, Muchall is one of only two Durham-born batsmen to score a double century for the county, making 219 at Canterbury in 2006.
But he tended to struggle on seaming Riverside pitches, particularly when asked to bat at No 3, and will retire with a first-class average hovering around the 30 mark.
Durham could face a battle to hang on to Borthwick and Mark Stoneman, who are out of contract at the end of the season and attracting interest from wealthier counties, notably Nottinghamshire.
Borthwick said: “Durham’s my home and I want to stay as loyal as possible. They gave me a great opportunity to bat at the top of the order and I never want to leave.”
As Durham’s one-day captain, Stoneman has been groomed to take over from Paul Collingwood, who intended to retire after the 2014 season but is still going strong at 40.
His decision on whether to continue for another year will be crucial to Durham’s planning, particularly with regard to balancing the books.
If Collingwood misses the Specsavers County Championship match at home to bottom club Hampshire, starting on Sunday, because of his fractured thumb, the vacancy could be filled by Muchall or Ben Stokes.
Durham are awaiting a decision from the ECB on whether Stokes can play as a batsman as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee operation.
After returning in the NatWest T20 Blast match against Yorkshire last Friday, when he was out for five, he was again in the squad for the games at home to Worcestershire last night and at Trent Bridge this evening.