James Foster: Essex's former England wicketkeeper to retire

James Foster
James Foster played for England during the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009

Essex's former England wicketkeeper James Foster is to retire at the end of the season.

The 38-year-old, who played seven Tests and 11 One-Day Internationals during his 19 years as a professional, is to pursue a career in coaching.

In an open letter on the club's website Foster said it was "privilege" to play for his home county and talked of his pride at representing his country.

"It is with great sadness I will no longer be an Essex player," he added.

"Thank you to all the Essex players for making it such an enjoyable changing room. Winning the County Championship in 2017 was one of my happiest memories."

"What I appreciated most at the club was the way coaches, management, support staff, stewards and supporters have always made my family feel so welcome at the club, for that, I am truly grateful.

"Whilst playing has now come to an end, I am incredibly excited about the next phase of my career. I have been working extremely hard on building my coaching CV and experience."

Keeper/batsman Foster played his first Championship game in August 2000 and was Essex captain from 2010-15.

He has 839 first-class dismissals to his credit and scored more than 19,000 runs in all formats of the game, including 23 centuries.

Foster made his Test debut, aged just 21, in India in 2001 but was discarded after the 2002-03 Ashes series in Australia, only to reappear briefly as a member of the T20 team in 2009.

He has been involved in youth coaching in recent years and will continue with that, while also taking up roles in Australia, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Captain Ryan ten Doeschate described Foster as "the rock at Essex" and "a thorough professional".

"He's been a cherished friend through thick and thin," he said. "Over the last 15 years he's been a big presence and a great example in the dressing room, we're going to miss him next season."

On Thursday, Essex announced that Australian seamer Matt Dixon, 26, will also be leaving the club at the end of the season.