London, Apr 26 (AFP) Surrey all-rounder Zafar Ansari unexpectedly announced his retirement from cricket at the age of 25 today, just six months after making his England debut. Also Read - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh Should Be Merged: Maharashtra Minister To BJP

Ansari, who had been with Surrey since the age of eight, said he wanted to pursue other opportunities and was contemplating a career in law. Also Read - Fact Check: Did Muslims Raise Slogans of 'Islam Zindabad' in Kolkata? Here's The Truth Behind The Viral Video

“After seven years as a professional cricketer and almost two decades in total playing the game, I have decided to bring my cricket career to an end,” he said in a statement released by Surrey. Also Read - In First-of-its-kind Initiative, Madrasa For Transgender People Opens in Bangladesh

“This has been a very difficult decision to make and I have not made it lightly. It is… with great sadness that I say goodbye.

“Nevertheless, I have always been clear that when the time was right for me to move on I would, and that time has now come.

“While the timing may come as a surprise, I have always maintained that cricket was just one part of my life and that I have other ambitions that I want to fulfil.

“With that in mind, I am now exploring another career, potentially in law, and to achieve this I have to begin the process now.”

Ansari was first capped by Surrey in 2014 and made his one-day debut for England the following year.

His Test debut was delayed by a freak hand injury sustained while fielding at Old Trafford in late 2015.

He eventually won his first Test cap against Bangladesh last October.

Ansari has combined his cricket career with academic studies.

He secured a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Sociology from Cambridge University in 2013 and was awarded a Master’s degree in History by Royal Holloway, University of London last year.

Alec Stewart, director of cricket at Surrey, said: “Zafar’s exceptionally tough but considered decision is one that we should all respect and understand.

“We wish Zafar the very best in whatever the future holds for him and he will always be welcomed back to the Kia Oval with open arms.” (AFP) PM

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.