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Sussex's Ed Joyce retires from county cricket to focus on representing Ireland

Sussex batsman Ed Joyce has retired from county cricket in order to concentrate on playing for Ireland.

The 38-year-old left-hander was awarded a category A player contract by Cricket Ireland in December and the former Sussex captain has decided to call time on his county career.

Joyce arrived at Hove in 2009 from Middlesex and was appointed skipper in 2012.

He scored over 8,000 first-class runs for Sussex at an average of 49.39, with a career-best 250 against Derbyshire last season one of 23 centuries.

The International Cricket Council will discuss awarding Ireland full Test status in June, and Joyce wants to focus on his international commitments.

"County cricket has been a huge part of my life for the last 18 years and it is with a tinge of sadness that I've decided not to play this season or beyond," said Joyce, who made a handful of appearances for England between 2006-07 before reverting to his country of birth.

"I fully intended on playing at least some cricket for Sussex in 2017 but the realities of my various injuries, alongside my playing commitments here in Ireland, have meant that this isn't possible.

"There's no doubt in my mind I played my best cricket at Sussex and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the coaches, players, supporters and environment at the club that allowed me to do this.

"I'll always feel like I'm coming home when I visit Hove in the future, which I plan to do as often as possible as a spectator.

"On the playing side, I'm still enjoying competing for Ireland and Leinster. With the prospect of Test cricket and full membership potentially on the horizon, it's an exciting time for Irish cricket and I want to play my part in this process as long as I feel I can contribute on the field."

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