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Tuesday, 28 August, 2001, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Your farewells to Atherton
Mike Atherton has finally announced his retirement from first-class cricket.
E-mail your tributes to the former England captain and batsman.
Since he made his Test debut in 1989 against Australia, Atherton has been a regular, playing in 115 Test matches.
He captained his country for five years and has been England's most influential player of the last decade.
He bowed out on Sunday at the Oval, out for nine in England's second innings against Australia, ending his international career as the leading English run-scorer in Test cricket since January 1990.
Send us your most memorable Atherton moments and your tributes
Definitely one of England's finest of the last 20 years. If only Gooch, Gower, Botham and Atherton had been in their prime at the same time!
Mike Atherton's presence at the top of the England batting order will be missed by both his team mates and anybody with a love of cricket. Lancashire too will miss him. He has been an inspiration to many who watch and play the game. A great example of bravery, courage and concentration. I wish him well in his media career, may he continue to bring as much pleasure to the game as his cricketing ability has.
What an innings! Atherton is not only a world class sportsman, but a real gent too. Irreplaceable.
With Mike Atherton's name on the team sheet, you always knew you had a chance. He could post a big score at the beginning of the innings, or be there at the death digging in to save the day. It is unfortunate that often, he did not have that same fighting spirit amongst the rest of the team around him. A great batsman who will be sorely missed and difficult to replace. Thanks Mike.
Despite having expected Atherton's retirement, it still leaves me stunned. Personally, he changed my interest in cricket into a passion for the game. He will be missed by players and spectators alike. He was an undeniably great cricketer.
It's very sad that Athers is retiring. Iżll never forget his battles with South Africa's Allan Donald when he showed such determination. It was pure drama and he will be greatly missed!
Grit, determination and bottle are the three words that spring to mind when I think of Mike Atherton playing for England. A fantastic player, it is terrible that his wonderful career came in the middle of a poor period for England. Whatever he does, he will succeed. Thanks for the memories.
I had the pleasure of touring with the England media and cricket team to the West Indies in '94 and '98 and indeed travelled with Mike to the awesome Kaitur Falls in Guyana. Not only did he always make us think with him at the crease England had a fighting chance, but he always was polite and approachable off the field with a dry sense of humour. I wish him all the best for whatever he wants to do in the future - from a cricketing perspective and beyond he will be sorely missed.
The very fact that Atherton has come out of the most baron spell English cricket has seen in years with almost legendry status and with figures to back him, shows the dependency that English cricket has had on him. He has left the game with great respect and I, with so many others, am eager to hear his intelligent, knowledgeable views on this great game.
While Mike Atherton will always be remembered by me and my countrymen for the 185 not out in Johannesburg and the duel with Allan Donald (including dubious umpiring decision), I'm sure I speak for all South Africans when I say that he will be missed. A wonderful batsman, a great ambassador for English cricket, and a man to be respected. Mike, it is sad to see you go, may you have the best of luck in your new ventures.
In a game where some of the heroes are larger than life, my cricketing hero conducted himself with quiet poise, grit and immense determination. When the time came to name my son, there was only one name for me, Michael. Thank you for your immense contribution to English cricket. You will be fondly remembered and sorely missed.
Athers, you were boring to watch, and we all wanted you to get out to get the stroke players in! Unfortunately for us it didn't happen often, which was fortunate for England! Seriously though, I hate to think how many more defeats England would have had if it wasn't for your application and determination. You've taught a lot of people how to approach the game at Test level.
There aren't that many true British (sporting) heroes around in public life at the moment (look at Australia by comparison). However, of the few, we have some great examples - men and women who epitomise the best about our character as well as performing at the highest level. One of the very best of our heroes has just left the stage. Thanks for entertaining us Mike - and doing so with skill, courage, humour and integrity. You'll be missed - and remembered.
Michael Atherton for me is the epitome of everything that youngsters should look up to. His many innings of fight and determination throughout the 90s have cast him as one of the all-time greats of English cricket. I wish him all the best for the future.
During some of the darkest years of English cricket, his light shone the brightest. A truly great English batsman.
Athers brought character and spirit to the English Team. Often he stood alone when England was faced with defeat. Most memorable were his innings against South Africa. Then there was his brilliant academic record, his leadership and his lop-sided grin. Yes, cricket will be poorer without him. All the very best Athers and God bless you.
Jehan P, Sri Lanka
When I started my own business I put a picture of Mike Atherton on my office wall - to remind me that when things get tough, grit, determination, and an intelligent appraisal of the situation will win through.
Thanks for the great cricket - and the all round inspiration.
As a Mancunian I am of course biased. One of the greatest ever opening bats whose averages simply do not tell the whole story. The backbone of the England team for 10 years and that statement has a certain irony to it. Good luck Mike.
With Mike Atherton's name on the team sheet, you always knew you had a chance. He could post a big score at the beginning of the innings or be there at the death digging in to save the day. It is unfortunate that often he did not have that same fighting spirit around him. A great batsman who will be sorely missed and difficult to replace. Thanks Mike.
On the field Athers never shirked a showdown with any of the bowlers from any country, he had the strongest attitude I have ever seen in a batsman. Despite this, when I went to watch Lancashire, he was possibly the most polite player at the game. Not only did he sign my book, but he also invited me onto the Headingley balcony, all this whilst he was giving his time to the press. A true gentleman of the game and he will sorely missed.
Dom Chadwick, England
In my opinion Mike has been the most consistent and tenacious England opener of the last two decades.
Prospective cricketers would do well by emulating his spirit and attitude to the game.
As a Tyke, I am proud to have watched Mike open for England and always thought that his wicket was
highly valued by all countries facing him.
I believe he could still play at the top level for at least another two years, but wish him all the best in his retirement.
I am a Scot but Mike Atherton makes me proud to be British. His resilience and courage in the face of Alan Donald's barrage of short pitch bowling from round the wicket at Trent Bridge in 1998 I something I will never forget. That, and many other moments in which Athers has been involved, should make all cricket lovers grateful to have seen him bat. His diffidence, stoicism and professionalism are a shining example to all young cricketers. Mike - thanks for the memories.
The epitome of English cricket in the 1990s, Atherton displayed tremendous technique while taking on the world's best bowlers. His duel with Allan Donald will always be remembered. It is indeed sad that he has left the cricket scene at a fairly early age of 33. His total concentration and will to succeed will always be cherished. Truly a fantastic cricketer.
All the best for the future Mike. If only we'd had another 10 fighters with your character over the last decade! The esteem in which you're held around the world was demonstrated by the generous applause from every member of the Australian team on Sunday.
I'm glad Mike is quitting while he is still a the top. I can remember as a 12-year-old watching Athers as he averaged something like 560 for our school's first XI. He'll be a loss to England, but a great boon for Channel 4, Sky or whoever snaps him up. All the best, 'FEC'!
Mike's job always seemed to be fighting a rearguard action with a great deal of pressure. He showed us all his grit and determination and always gave his fans 100%. He is to be admired and we wish him well for the future. I just hope our present players will follow his example.
He has struggled through pain to produce the goods time and again for his country over more than 10 years. Being the leading run scorer in tests since 1990 proves he's one of the very best. Good luck Mike, you are already missed. Truly a national hero.
It is with massive disappointment I read the news of "Athers'" decision to bow out of international and first-class cricket. He was a truly magnificent servant to the game and, as a Lancashire fan, I witnessed many of his fine innings for the "Red Roses" and England. It is such a shame that he was treated so tough by the media despite becoming a legend with the fans. His cheeky smile will be sorely missed at first slip. Long live Atherton.
Ben Nelson, England
don't remove yourself from the game totally. Kids of the future will need to look at your guts and determination to shape their careers.
I remember being at the Oval in 1994 on the last day of England's win against South Africa. Atherton was the backbone of that innings, allowing other players the freedom to play their shots. It could have been the perfect description of Atherton's career - steady, determined and dependable. I won't forget the ovation he received on Sunday at the Oval, but I would sooner think of a similar ovation received in happier circumstances some seven years earlier.
Some of the greatest cricketing contests between bowlers and batsmen I have ever seen have included Mike Atherton. His duels with great bowlers such as Glenn McGrath, Allan Donald, Waquar Younis and Wasim Akram to name a few will be sorely missed.
As the former media liaison officer for the United Cricket Board of South Africa, I had many dealings with Michael Atherton as a captain and a player. Indeed, I was present at three of the most dramatic events in his career: the infamous "ball tampering" at Lord's in the South African Test; his "get this buffoon out of here" comment at the media conference following England's defeat by South Africa at the World Cup on the sub-continent; and his magnificent 185 runs over 10 hours to thwart a South African victory at the Wanderers.
It is a surprise to me that he was nicknamed Captain Grumpy because I found him to be affable and helpful in the course of my duties with him. They say cricketers should not have too much intelligence because it makes them think too much about the game and its pitfalls. Atherton was able to overcome this affliction, and showed that intelligence, guts and a dry sense of humour can be excellent attributes in becoming a class Test player. And he certainly was that, and I for one, will miss his presence on the field very much.
A superb servant to English cricket, a legend.
Michael Atherton has always carried himself with dignity, and the pride he has in representing his country is a lesson to many aspiring professionals in any sport. I think the timing of his announcement and the low key manner in which it was made sums up the man. No fanfares for him, just a quiet step back out of the limelight. He knows, like most of us do, that the time was right but he will be missed. He is still the man the opposition want to get out first because they know if he gets in then they'll have to work really hard to get him. Good luck to you Michael and thanks for the hard work you've done for the rest of us that wish we could have hard a tenth of your talent.
Thank-you for your performances for England. It is a shame that injury prevented Mike Atherton from playing more than 115 times for his country.
I think the best compliment you can give Mike Atherton on his fine career is that he was always respected and admired (and targeted) by Australia. They recognised that he was always key to the English Cricket Team's chances of success.
The retirement of Mike Atherton marks the end of an era for English cricket and opens a gap that will be nigh on impossible to fill. Atherton's eventual average of 37 fails to justice to the awesome strength and courage displayed throughout his twelve years of international cricket. For many of us, Mike Atherton was England personified. I wish him well in his retirement.
Boycott, Gooch, Edrich and now Atherton should be added to ranks of English great opening batsmen. He batted in the hardest position and still managed to score more Test runs, since 1990 than anyone else, including the Waugh's.
He earned the respect of all the teams he played against, especially the quicks. He was always their "prized" victim.
He will be sorely missed, but I look forward to hearing his comments either on TV and/or radio for many years to come.
One of our best ever. Nothing more needs to be said.
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