Former Australia bowler Sarah Aley has announced her retirement from the one-day cricket. She has won 12 Women’s National Cricket League titles for New South Wales Breakers. Meanwhile, her future with Sydney Sixers hasn’t confirmed yet. The swing bowler became the oldest bowler to debut for Australia at age 33 in 2017.

She had played a single ODI for Australia and two T20Is, while she claimed 97 wickets for NSW which came at an average of 27.15. That also put her fifth on the all-time wicket-takers’ list. She was also a long-time junior state coach too. Moreover, her 123 matches for NSW are the third most in history after former players – Alex Blackwell (139) and Lisa Sthalekar (145).

Her NSW teammate and Australia player Alyssa Healy has paid tribute on her retirement after a stunning 16-season of Women’s National Cricket League career.

“You epitomise what it means to be a Breaker, you never give up,” said Alyssa Healy about Sarah Aley. “Your passion, your commitment and your hard work to not only your own individual game but to every single person that’s played for the Breakers throughout your career, is something that you should be incredibly proud of. Thank you very much for what you’ve done for me, thank you very much for what you’ve done for the Breakers and I hope the next chapter of your life is just as successful as what this one has been.”

Sarah Aley was also featured in the NSW teams that won T20 titles twice in 2013-14 and 2014-15. She picked up 48 wickets at an average of 15.83 in 59 Interstate T20 matches for the NSW Breakers as well. Aley also played for English County Warwickshire in 2007. Since the beginning of the Women Big Bash League in 2015-16, she has played 73 matches for the Sydney Sixers, picking up 83 wickets at 17.42.

“I know the time is right to step aside and let the younger players take over and be the future of the NSW Breakers,” said Aley. “I’d like to thank everyone within Cricket NSW from players to coaches to support and administrative staff. There’s a lot of people within Cricket NSW that have played a significant part in my career.”

“My family, my mum and dad, my three brothers have played a huge part in who I am and what I have achieved. My brothers were the ones that probably instilled the competitive beast that lies within me because of our backyard battles. My friends as well. I have some pretty understanding friends and family when I said I can’t do this or I’m going to be away for cricket,” she shared.

 

Sarah Aley also thanked Lisa Sthalekar and NSW Breakers head selector Kerry Marshall – the two women who played a key role in Aley’s stunning career.

“Lisa Sthalekar has probably been one of the biggest influences on my career, and probably prolonged my career as well, because she didn’t bowl me for the first five years when she was captain and I was in the team,” Aley replied jokingly.

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“She was just looking after me. That aside she has played a very significant part in my career in terms of the support that she gave me. She was somebody I really looked up to and learnt a lot from. Kerry Marshall was my first coach for Under 19s and also first coach for the Breakers. She’s played a massive role in my career and I can’t thank her enough,” she further added.

She affectionately known as ‘Mittsy’ for her superb ability in the field, Aley claimed 61 catches across both the One-Day and T20 formats as well. She also led her state on at least three occasions too. Her final appearance came at North Sydney Oval in the WNCL Final defeat to Western Australia in February.

“I probably never even thought I’d get past the Illawarra Catholic Club Under 16s with the boys,” Aley expressed with a smile.

“I loved cricket and there were people around me, not just my family, but people within the schools system that saw I had a bit of talent and prompted me to try out for the All Girls NSW Combined Catholic Colleges and I guess the rest happened from there,” she added

“I’d always watched NSW play cricket, and it was NSW men playing cricket not the NSW women, I didn’t even know there was a NSW women’s team. To then find out it was a possibility was something that was pretty special,” Aley told.

However, her captaincy on and off the field is a lasting legacy that will never fade. During her career Aley gave back to a very great extent; coaching several players in the Cricket NSW pathway she would later go on and play with, sharing championship success too.

“When I played my 100th game for NSW, every single member of that team apart from myself and Rachael Haynes, I had coached at some point in my career,” Sarah Aley said with a smile. “It’s pretty special to see somebody like Ash Gardner that came through the NSW pathways and was picked for NSW, to see how she’s grown and developed and then get to play alongside her.”

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