The Unlucky One: Chadd Sayers announces retirement from professional cricket with just one Test cap to his name | #retirement | #elderly | #seniors
For years, he was on the cusp of being the next elite seamer for Australia in Test cricket.
But due to circumstances – mostly out of his control – Chadd Sayers finished with just one game for Australia, and has now retired from the professional game after a storied domestic career.
The 33-year old has been a fixture of the South Australian setup for the past decade, and announced the decision on Thursday morning that he would be stepping away from the game after one final game this weekend.
“I believe the timing is now right for me to step away from first-class cricket at the conclusion of this season.” he said.
“I have enjoyed every moment, the highs and lows, and all the memories in between, but I feel that it is time – I now have a young family and there were no guarantees of a contract next year.
“I’d like to thank my dad, mum and all my family – Steph, Darcie and Beau, all my coaches and my manager, Greg, who guided me on my journey to and through first-class cricket.
“It has been an absolute honour to play for my home state of South Australia all this time, and I’m looking forward to taking the field with the lads one last time this weekend.”
Sayers finishes his career with the Redbacks as one of their greatest players, having taken 278 wickets with best figures of 8/64.
He first gained exposure in the 2012/13 season, where he finished the Shield season as the leading wicket-taker with 48 wickets at an average of 18.52.
Following his breakout campaign, Sayers travelled to England ahead of The Ashes in 2013 and took 11 wickets at 11.54 during the Australia A games, putting him in the selection frame.
He missed out in the UK, but was again in the frame for a call-up when England came out to Australia later that year. He again missed out, and returned to dominating at Shield level.
Injury disrupted his 2014/15 season with the Redbacks, but he returned in late-2015 and was immediately parachuted into the 14-man Australian squad to travel to New Zealand.
Again, Sayers missed out on selection.
In the 2016/17 summer, he was a part of the squads to take on South Africa and Pakistan – but was unable to claim a Baggy Green in either series, instead returning to dominate Shield cricket with 62 wickets as South Australia claimed the title.
Sayers was named in the 2017 Ashes squad, but missed out on selection for the first two matches, before being replaced by everyone’s favourite player, Mitchell Marsh.
By this stage, it looked like Sayers’ opportunity was simply never going to come – but the seamer perservered, and after years of hard work, finally earned his chance.
In March 2018, Sayers made his Test debut against South Africa, taking two wickets in the process – one of which was superstar Proteas batsman AB de Villiers.
And after that, nothing. Never selected for Australia again. Over half a decade of dominating domestic cricket culminated in one match for Australia, and that was his international career.
During that time, Sayers can consider himself unlucky due to the sheer brilliance of who has been in front of him.
In the series where he was close to a call-up, Sayers was stuck behind Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins – just to name a few.
Should he have been given more opportunities? Probably. Sayers was someone who should have featured heavily in England, where his swing bowling would have troubled English players.
And while many will look back at Sayers’ career and think about what could have been, we should also recognise and appreciate what he achieved.
His domestic career was absolutely outstanding, and for a decade he was one of the most feared bowlers in the competition. Not because of pace or bounce – because of the way he could dismiss a batsman in so many different ways.
His retirement leaves another huge hole in the South Australian setup, with the state already losing Callum Ferguson.
The pair have been synonymous with the Redbacks outfit for as long as many reading this can remember, and after the side’s poor performances in Sheffield Shield and Marsh One-Day Cup this season, it signals a huge changing of the guard.
It won’t happen overnight – you don’t replace players of Sayers and Ferguson’s quality easily.
It will take some rebuilding, perhaps mixing some recruitment from rival states and promoting younger players – but over time, the Redbacks will find their venom again.
Sayers will take the field for the final time against Victoria on Saturday at Junction Oval, and when it’s all said and done, what a career it has been.