TOM Smith admits he is looking forward to the future despite having had to call time on his Lancashire career.
The Chorley cricketer, a former captain at the club, has been forced to retire with immediate effect from all forms of the game due to injury.
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Smith, who has struggled in recent seasons with a back injury, will work in the Red Rose academy in the short term assisting Gary Yates.
The 31-year-old, who played a key role in Lancashire's County Championship title success in 2011, said: “It’s with great sadness that I've had to retire from the professional game due to injury. Following medical advice and recently becoming a father my long term health is most important at this time.
“I would like to take this chance to thank the whole of Lancashire County Cricket Club for 10 amazing seasons. To my team mates, coaching staff and especially the medical team you have all had a massive influence on my career and I’d like to thank you for all the hard work you've put in over the years.
"To all the members and supporters I can’t thank you enough for all the support and encouragement you have given myself and the team. I now look forward to joining you as a fan and watching from the sidelines.
“Over the last 10 years I've been lucky enough to take to the field with some great players, childhood idols and at the same time create some fantastic memories. 2011 will always be remembered as a great highlight from my career, but to have the honour of captaining this great county, albeit for a brief period is something that I'm very proud of.
“While it’s disappointing to be leaving the game in this fashion I'm very excited about the journey that lies ahead, and keen to venture into the world outside of cricket to take on a new challenge.
“Lastly, I would like to thank all my family and friends who have been there from the start. If it wasn't for you I wouldn’t have had the career I did. My wife Holly has been amazing over the last two very up and down years. I now look forward to spending more time with her and my son, Dougie.”
The all-rounder, who started his career in the Northern League with Chorley, earned England Lions selection in 2014 and had a short stint as skipper in 2015 before injury curtailed his season.
Smith made 107 first class appearances for the county hitting 8,790 runs, including three centuries as well as taking 241 wickets. He also played in 96 T20 and 73 List A fixtures for Lancashire Lightning.
And Old Trafford head coach Glen Chapple said: "It’s very sad that Tom has had to retire. He has made an outstanding contribution to Lancashire County Cricket Club.
"He is one of the nicest guys I know and it has been a privilege to play alongside him and then coach him. He was always 100 per cent committed to the club.
“Tom has been a valued and popular member of the playing staff throughout his time with us. On behalf of everyone at the club I would like to thank him for his efforts and contribution with Lancashire and wish him well in the next chapter of his career.”