English cricketer Barney Gibson has announced his retirement from the game of cricket at the age of just 19. The wicketkeeper-batsman had created history in 2011 when he became the youngest first-class debutant in the history of English cricket, making his debut for Yorkshire just 27 days after he had turned 15. He made a strong impression too as he went on to take an impressive tally of 6 catches behind the stumps.
However, a lack of first-team opportunities in the ensuing years, with his debut match being his only senior first-class appearance, has made him give up the game for good.
“This was a difficult decision to make,” Gibson said in a statement. “I would like to thank the players and staff at Yorkshire for their support.
“I have been involved with the Club since I was 11 and I feel that now is the right time for me to look at a career change.
“The support from my parents has been tremendous and I would like to thank Ralph Middlebrook at Pudsey Congs Cricket Club and England coach Paul Farbrace, who I had close working relationships with.”
While his decision is a reflection of his uncertainty on whether he would ever make it at the top level, the fact that he had made his debut for a county with the history and tradition of Yorkshire at such a young age is sufficient evidence of not just the enormous potential he had but also the high regard he was held in.
At the time of making his debut, the then Director of Cricket at Yorkshire Martyn Moxon had said: “When you look at the first team at Yorkshire there are a lot of lads who have come through our academy.
“But Barney is obviously very advanced for his years, and it’s amazing that he is playing so young.”
Strangely, in his final game for the county’s second XI, he neither batted nor did any glovework, with his only contribution being sending down 3.3 overs for 29 runs with the ball.
“Everyone at the Club wishes Barney well,” Ian Dews, Yorkshire’s current Director of Cricket, said.
“It is very much his decision. We hope that the next chapter in his life is very successful.”