I’ll really miss it – World Cup winner Alex Hartley to retire after The Hundred

Alex Hartley, part of the England side that won the 2017 Women’s World Cup on home soil, has announced she will end her playing career at the conclusion of The Hundred.

Hartley took 10 wickets in eight matches during England’s seminal triumph, including two for 58 in the final against India, the undoubted highlight of an international career spanning 28 ODIs and four T20s.

The slow left-armer has not featured for England since 2019 while she went on a brief hiatus in May after admitting she had been “struggling mentally”, having fallen out of love with the game.

She made her comeback earlier this month for Welsh Fire, who will go into Saturday’s eliminator at the Kia Oval hoping to reach the final on the following day at Lord’s.

Whatever the outcome for the Fire in the knockout stages, Hartley, a popular broadcaster with the BBC’s Test Match Special, will retire from cricket this weekend.

“I’m hanging the boots up. I am officially retiring from cricket,” the 29-year-old said on her BBC ‘No Balls’ podcast. “I can’t believe it, I feel so good.

“I have been thinking about it for ages and ages. I’m going to really miss it, I’m going to be really sad but it’s so right. I’ve loved it, I’ve hated it but I am really proud of what I’ve achieved.

Alex Hartley helped England win the 2017 Women's World Cup (Mike Egerton/PA)
Alex Hartley helped England win the 2017 Women’s World Cup (Mike Egerton/PA)

“It’s everything that I’ve ever wanted to do. I’m gutted I didn’t play Test cricket but I’m one of those where if you’re not good enough then you’re not good enough.”

Hartley made her England debut in 2016 but estimated she has devoted 17 years to her playing career, and is now looking forward to having more free time, even if she will still work in the game.

“At the minute, it’s work, cricket, work, cricket. I don’t ever have any days off,” Hartley added. “I haven’t seen my school friends for about a year because I never have time.”

Hartley, who has represented North West Thunder on the domestic circuit since 2020, has taken three wickets in four matches for the Cardiff-based Fire, who lost to Northern Superchargers on Tuesday.

That has dropped them to third in the standings but they were already guaranteed to progress past the group stage and will now take on either the Superchargers or Southern Brave in a semi-final eliminator.