Nigel Jones has quit international cricket at the top. The Civil Service North captain has been appointed full-time Regional Development Officer for the NCU and simultaneously announced his retirement from the Ireland team.
Troubled by a shoulder injury, together with his commitment to the Stormont club and his young family, in the end Jones’ decision to say goodbye to his international team-mates — after 34 caps since 2009 — “took care of itself”.
But at least he can say he saved his best for last.
Having been a member of the Ireland squad at both the 2010 World Twenty20 and the 2011 ICC World Cup without playing a match, he played in five of the six games in Sri Lanka last September, including both World Twenty20 ties against Australia and West Indies when he was not out in both innings at the best strike rate by an Ireland player.
Jones admitted yesterday he “had an inkling” that the tournament would be his last and that helped him perform.
“It’s not often you get a chance to play an international without pressure but even my wife, Rosalyn, noticed I was super-relaxed playing those last two games and it was very satisfying to finally play a role,” said Jones.
“I have enjoyed every moment and I feel honoured to have represented Ireland over the past three and a half years.
“I probably never achieved the results that I was capable of, but I was limited with the opportunities I had — that's life.
“I have been lucky to have played alongside some outstanding players for Ireland,” said the New Zealand-born all-rounder
National Coach Phil Simmons said: “Nigel was a dream to coach and I'm certain he'll do a great job in his new role.”