KEITH Arnold has retired from Oxfordshire cricket – just days after being recalled to the side.

The county’s all-time leading wicket-taker and former captain made the “emotional” decision following an injury he picked up in Oxfordshire’s defeat to Cornwall this week.

The 50-year-old will, however, continue playing for his club side, Banbury Twenty.

Oxon’s record-breaking bowler, who has 682 wickets to his name, said: “I thought I was fit enough, but then tweaked my hamstring after five overs.

“I thought it was time to go really.

“I had thought about retiring at the beginning of this season as I had this back injury.

“But I played a few games, and in the end it wasn’t the back that was playing up.

“If the game against Cornwall had gone the distance, it would not have been fair on the team to carry someone.

“It had to end at some stage. I have been lucky to have been playing this long.

“I didn’t announce anything at the game, but it was quite emotional really. It has been a big chunk of my life.

“It wasn’t the ideal way to go out, but I think it is time.”

Arnold won the Minor Counties Championship with Oxfordshire in 1982 and 1989 and captained them between 2002 and 2004.

He said: “I suppose the highlight is just playing for Oxfordshire really, playing for a county who go about the game in the right spirit.

“I have always played with fantastic people. There were no prima donnas.

“If the Minor Counties was still two-day cricket, I could probably have carried on.

“It was a hard decision, but the right one.”

Arnold added: “I am not going to disappear.

“I have said to Ian Hawtin and the committee, if there is anything I can do with helping the bowlers let me know.

“I’m not going to be very good sitting around watching matches. I can’t see myself being a committee blazer.”

Oxon captain Hawtin said: “I think he was probably the best bowler ever to have played for us.

“I don’t think the records that Keith has set will ever be beaten.

“He is not only a great bowler, but also a great character.”