England spinner Graeme Swann has announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect, saying it would be selfish for him to keep playing.
Swann, 34, said it was the right time to step aside and let England bring in some new blood with the Ashes gone after Australia made it 3-0 in Perth last week.
“Well, it’s quite simple. When I came out on this trip I half expected it to be my last tour for England,” said Swann in Melbourne on Sunday.
“I was desperately hoping to win the Ashes out here again, like we did in 2010-11 but with the Ashes gone now in those three Test matches … I think to selfishly play just to experience another Boxing Day Test match, a Sydney Test match, would be wrong.
“It would be wrong for the team, it would be wrong for me.”
The off-spinner has been under pressure to keep his place in the England team after taking just seven wickets at an average of 80 in three Ashes Tests.
Swann exits the international arena having played 60 Tests since making his debut in 2008, taking 255 wickets at 29.96.
“With two games to go in Australia and then a fiercely competitive summer against Sri Lanka and India, I feel that it is a great time for someone else to strap themselves in and hopefully enjoy the ride as much as I have,” Swann said.
“I don’t regret a single day of my career. Every high has been celebrated with verve and vigour and every low painfully accepted as a chance to learn and improve.”
England team director Andy Flower said Swann made an “outstanding contribution” to the team.
“His commitment, competitive spirit and sense of humour have been recognised and admired by team-mates and supporters alike and he has played a big part in England’s success over the last five years,” Flower said.
“The dressing room will be a very different place without Graeme’s unique personality and I would like to wish him all the very best for the future.”
Swann received praise from his opposite number in the Australian team, Nathan Lyon.
“He’s someone who I’ve looked up to a lot,” said Lyon on the Cricket Australia website.
“His career stats stand for themselves, he’s been an unbelievable spinner and someone who I watched pretty closely in my time.
“I’m sure he will be sorely missed in the England team but I wish him all the best in the future.”
Australian paceman Ryan Harris admitted his surprise at the announcement.
“Something’s obviously not quite right with him, or he’s fulfilled whatever he wanted to do, but to me that’s a huge shock,” Harris said.
Swann also played 79 one-day internationals for England, making his debut in 2000 at the age of 20 against South Africa in Bloemfontein.
He has claimed 104 ODI wickets and in 2011 was the No.1-ranked one-day bowler.
He was a key member of England’s Twenty20 squad since making his debut in 2008 against New Zealand, helping England to the ICC World T20 title in 2010 and captaining the side three times in 2011.