By Bruce Talbot
Matt Machan says he is relieved now that he has taken the tough decision to call time on his career.
The Sussex and Scotland batsman has succumbed to a wrist injury which has been troubling him since May 2016. He attempted a low-level comeback in mid-May, during a net session at Hove, he felt pain in the wrist again and knew enough was enough. He announced his decision last week.
“I knew six or seven weeks ago that I would have to retire but for various reasons I couldn’t confirm it until last week,” he said. “It gave me time to process things and I actually feel a sense of relief now that it’s out in the open.”
Machan can look back on a solid career. Associated with Sussex since the age of ten, he wasn’t quite old enough to play in Chris Adams’ successful sides of the last decade but by 2015, when he scored three Championship hundreds in the First Division, he had begun to establish himself in Sussex’s middle order as a pugnacious competitor always looking to take on the bowlers.
He was also a key member of Sussex’s white ball team and in 2013 had made his Scotland debut - his mother is from Glasgow - and went on to play in two World Cups and represent his country 39 times.
“I don’t think playing in the World Cup, especially the 2015 edition in New Zealand and Australia, would have been topped if I’d played for another ten years,” he said. “That was a fantastic experience and I have some great memories.
“I prefer to look back and think that I fulfilled a childhood ambition to play for Sussex and I got the chance to play in some cool games for Scotland rather than the fact that I missed out on playing for another eight years or so.”
Machan would like to stay in the game in a coaching capacity and has already had some offers, but for now he likes the idea that for the first time since he joined the Sussex staff he can plan his own life rather than having to stick to the regimented schedules which are the lot of the professional cricketer.
“I knew where I would be for the next 3-6 months and I had no complaints about that,” he added. “But it’s nice to book a summer holiday for the first time and decide from day to day what I want to do.”
While he was still playing Machan set up a successful property business, based in Brighton, with his brother George and he will devote more time now to it. “I can’t do any of the physical work,” he added. “I’ll leave that to George, but it will be nice to spend more time on growing the business.”
He is grateful for the support he’s received during a difficult period when he had to come to terms with the end of his career. “Nick Denning, the Personal Development and Welfare Manager, and everyone at the PCA have been brilliant. The work they do for the players is fantastic and I’ll always be grateful to them. The same goes for the physios and all the staff at Sussex.”
Machan plans to keep in touch with his old team-mates. “After 16 years, Sussex is always going to be a big part of my life but I’m looking forward to what the future brings.”