David Sales’ retirement leaves a void that will be hard to fill according to Northamptonshire head coach David Ripley.
The 36-year-old has announced that this season will be his final one at the County Ground, bringing to an end a 19-year association with the club.
And Ripley, who has been a colleague throughout Sales’ career as a professional cricketer, is disappointed to see him go.
He said: “It’s quite sad in terms of how it’s finished, with David being helped off on a wet Friday night in Northampton rather than having the chance to announce he’s going to play one final game.
“We’ll certainly miss him. You see plenty of good players come and go and you’re always left with the question of how you’re going to replace them.”
But while the conclusion has been far from ideal, Ripley thinks Sales deserves to be ranked “right up there” when placed in the context of County batsmen.
He added: “In all formats of the game he’s been a very destructive player for a long time.
“It was a pity when he picked up that knee injury and was forced to miss a whole season because we’ll never know how far he could have gone.
“That’s unfortunate but he played plenty of excellent innings for the club and he should be remembered for that.
“Also, he’s got a very good cricketing brain and has always offered a lot in that area and all of this means he will be a big loss for us.”
Quite how the County will replace Sales is a matter that will need to be solved in the near future and Ripley is hopeful that the club’s younger batsman will come to the fore.
“The likes of (Alex) Wakely and (Rob) Newton are still young lads but with plenty of experience.
“We need them to really emerge, especially in red ball cricket and there is also (Rob) Keogh, (Ben) Duckett and (James) Kettleborough who we rate really highly.
“These lads are capable as we’re just not going to be able to go out there and replace someone with David’s experience and record.”