Grant Elliott: Birmingham Bears captain to retire at end of 2018 season

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Birmingham Bears T20 captain Grant Elliott is to retire at the end of the season

Birmingham Bears captain Grant Elliott has said he intends to retire from competitive cricket now that his side's T20 Blast campaign has come to an end.

The former New Zealand all-rounder, 39, led the Bears to Finals Day in 2017 after taking on the captaincy from Ian Bell mid-season.

But there was no repeat of that as the Bears bowed out at the group stages.

"I'll be open to games in Switzerland, ice cricket and those sorts of things," Elliott told BBC WM's Bears Podblast.

"But, in terms of competitive cricket and playing for teams around the world, I'm keen on trying to create something outside of the game."

Elliott, who played Twenty20 cricket with Surrey in 2009 and Leicestershire in 2015, had a successful first T20 campaign for the Bears, hitting 332 runs in 16 games.

But, although he has taken more wickets in 2018 than he did in 2017, and held a stunning diving catch in the group-opening win over holders Notts Outlaws, he has struggled with the bat this time around, making just 80 runs in 10 innings.

Grant Elliott takes a stunning catch for Birmingham Bears
Grant Elliott's T20 Blast campaign started in stunning fashion with this spectacular diving catch to dismiss Notts Outlaws' Tom Moores

After keeping their slim hopes alive by hammering Lancashire on Wednesday, Elliott's final game in charge at home to the Bears' neighbours Worcestershire ended in a 15-run defeat.

International 'memories'

After playing more than 100 games for New Zealand across all formats, Elliott joined the Bears in 2017 as a non-overseas player under the Kolpak ruling, which meant he had to end his international career.

He played five Tests and 16 Twenty20 games for his country after making his debut against England in 2008.

Elliott appeared in 83 one-day internationals in which his most memorable performance came at the 2015 World Cup, top-scoring in both the semi-final victory against South Africa and the final, won by hosts Australia.

"I realised why I played the game four years ago," he said. "It's a hard game. There's a lot of pain.

"But it's because of the camaraderie and the team elements. I love hanging around with the lads in the changing room, sharing a win. That's what excites me.

"The actual games, I don't really remember what happens out there. You want to do your best but the people that you meet in the game is just awesome. A really neat group of elite sportspeople, who can be your mates for life."