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Wednesday, 29 August, 2001, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Tributes flow for Atherton
Mike Atherton
The cricketing world has heaped praise on the efforts of Mike Atherton after his retirement from Test cricket.

Atherton played 115 Tests for England and captained the side on a record 54 occasions.

Pakistan captain Wasim Akram is the latest to hail his former Lancashire team-mate, saying Atherton will be badly missed by the England team.

"He was a good captain and helped me adjust to playing the county circuit in my early days," said Akram.

"I rated him as one of the best openers of his time. His career record speaks for itself. I wish him success in whatever he chooses to do now."


He's really been the face of the English spirit. I think he will be sorely missed
Australian coach John Buchanan
Australian batsman and BBC Sport Online columnist Justin Langer said the wicket of Atherton had always been valued by Australia's bowlers.

"From an opposition's point of view, we will be happy to see the back of Athers as he is often as difficult to remove as one of the grass stains on your cricket pants.

"From an international cricket viewpoint, it is always sad to see the final curtain drawn on a great player.

"The loss of Mike Atherton will be a major blow to this country's cricket.

"His experience, skill and courage are assets that need to be passed on to the future generations.

"A fantastic competitor and courageous opening batsman, he has been a loyal ambassador in the blue England cap," said Langer.

Justin Langer was fulsome in his praise
Langer was fulsome in his praise
His comments were echoed by Australian coach John Buchanan, who said: "I think in Michael Atherton we have a man who embraces and embodies the whole spirit of English cricket.

"Steve Waugh has labelled him as the key wicket so I think that's a great testimony.

"He's resilient, he's really been the face of the English spirit. I think he will be sorely missed." England colleague Mark Butcher said Atherton had been a dogged competitor.

"He's been a magnificent servant to English cricket, he's also become a really good friend to me as well and he's someone I'll really miss.

"Anyone who has played any Test cricket at all will tell you that it's an enormous test physically and mentally and when someone does that for 11 years and has played over 100 Test matches, everyone really appreciates what that's all about," said Butcher.

A fresh-faced Mike Atherton made his debut in 1989
A fresh-faced Atherton made his debut in 1989
Sports minister Richard Caborn said Atherton's talent and determination "shone through some of the most difficult times on record for the sport in England."

Caborn added: "He was extremely well respected in sport and led from the front in a record number of Tests as England captain."

Former England captain Ray Illingworth, chariman of selectors when Atherton was England captain, also paid tribute.

He said: "He could be stubborn at times, and he and I did not always agree on cricket tactics.

"But anybody who gives 100% - as he undoubtedly did at all times - is someone you have to have time for."

See also:

19 Aug 01 |  The Ashes
Atherton delays career decision
11 Oct 00 |  Cricket
Atherton denies quit claims
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