England bowler Katherine Brunt retires from Test cricket after 18-year career | England women’s cricket team

Katherine Brunt has announced her retirement from Test cricket, with the England seamer planning to “prioritise white-ball cricket” for the remainder of her career.

The 36-year-old is England Women’s third highest wicket-taker with 51 dismissals in 14 Tests at a supreme average of 21.52. Brunt will continue to be available for one-day internationals and Twenty20s after making the “heartbreaking” decision to end her red-ball career after 18 years.

Brunt made her Test debut against New Zealand in August 2004, aged 19. Twelve months later, in her third Test, her nine-wicket match haul against Australia helped England win an Ashes series outright for the first time in 42 years.

The Barnsley-born bowler took her third five-wicket haul in Test cricket during last winter’s Ashes Test, finishing with match figures of eight for 84. She was unable to stop Australia from sealing a comprehensive victory in the multi-format series and has now made the decision to hang up her whites.

“I feel like as an athlete there is never an obvious time to step away from doing the thing that you love,” Brunt said. “But over the past two years, thoughts of retirement have surfaced more and more, so I’ve decided to make a smart decision rather than an emotional one.

“Test cricket is my absolute passion and to withdraw from this format was truly a heartbreaking choice to make, but it allows me to prioritize white-ball cricket. I know that I leave it in a great place, the bowlers coming through are ready and they’re just itching to be let loose.”

Katherine Brunt and her captain, Heather Knight, celebrate World Cup success in 2017. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Brunt, who has had the 10th-longest Test career in the history of the women’s game, was a key part of England’s 50-over World Cup victories in 2009 and 2017. She was named player of the match in the 2009 World T20 final, when England beat New Zealand by six wickets at Lord’s.

Jonathan Finch, the director of England Women’s cricket, said: “Katherine’s passion and commitment was never more evident than when she played Test cricket. She has given everything for England and we are fully supportive of her decision to focus on white-ball cricket on the international stage.

“Katherine can leave the red ball behind knowing she is a true legend in that form of the game. She has set standards that future generations can only aspire to.”

Brunt married Nat Sciver, her long-term partner and England teammate, last month. Brunt’s decision to stand down from representing England in Tests comes just a couple of months after her fellow bowler Anya Shrubsole announced her international retirement.

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