Hampshire's Dimitri Mascarenhas to retire from county cricket

Hampshire all-rounder Dimitri Mascarenhas has announced he is to retire from county cricket at the end of the season because of injury.

Mascarenhas has played for Hampshire for 18 years during which time he has picked up five domestic trophies.

The 35-year-old was also selected for England in 20 one-day internationals and 14 Twenty20 internationals.

"It's been the hardest decision of my life, I've been here for so long," Mascarenhas told BBC Radio Solent.

Born in London but raised in Australia, Mascarenhas returned to England to play in the Southern League before joining Hampshire in 1996 and taking 6-88 against Glamorgan at Southampton on his debut.

He won his Hampshire cap in 1998 and is the only current player who played for the county in the last century.

He scored the first century to be made at The Rose Bowl, against Worcestershire in 2001, and took the first hat-trick recorded in Twenty20 cricket as part of his career-best 5-14 against Sussex at Hove in 2004.

Mascarenhas also played a big part in his team's victorious 2005 Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy campaign.

He was awarded a benefit year by Hampshire in 2007 and, furthermore, was recognised by his country with an England call-up for their one-day squad to face India in the same year.

During the series, Mascarenhas hit five sixes in a single over from Yuvraj Singh at The Oval - a unique record for any England player.

He was appointed Hampshire captain in 2008. In that same year he was the first English player to be selected to play in the Indian Premier League for the Rajasthan Royals.

In recent seasons, he has been a key part of one of the most successful periods in Hampshire's history, helping the team win the 2009 Friends Provident Trophy and playing an integral part in the side's victorious Clydesdale Bank 40 campaign last season.

As Twenty20 captain, he led the side to the 2012 title and played in the early rounds, but not the semi-final or final, when they won the competition two years earlier.

In total, he has scored more than 12,000 runs in all formats and taken nearly 900 wickets.

"I feel I have so much left, but my Achilles just isn't up to it and, as a result, I have to retire," he said.

"I have had an amazing time here for 18 seasons; there have been many highs and lows, but one thing that has stayed constant is the guys I have played with. All have been tremendous talents and, more importantly, top blokes. "

Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove believes Mascarenhas deserves legendary status at the club for his 18-year contribution.

"Dimi has established himself as a true Hampshire icon and will be impossible to replace," said Bransgrove.

"His uncomplicated style and positive manner have made him a huge influence in and around the dressing room and his passion and commitment to the cause ensured that he would always be a crowd favourite."