Sussex and England are going to be without the services of their left arm spinner Holly Colvin for the foreseeable future, after the former World Cup winner recently announced that she is going to take an indefinite break from cricket to concentrate on her career.
It will be a big blow to Sussex, who won the County Championship last year, with Holly taking 3/23 in the final against Yorkshire. It will be an even bigger blow to England, who face the Aussies in Australia in January attempting to retain the Ashes, and then move on to the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in March. Colvin has been a mainstay of the England side since she first broke into the team as a 15 year old in 2005. She remains England's youngest ever Test player of either sex. To add to England's spinning woes Laura Marsh is still trying to come back from her second operation on her bowling shoulder and Danni Wyatt hardly bowled at all in the recent West Indies tour.
Colvin's summer this year was disrupted by a broken thumb sustained in a men's game early in the season. It meant she played only a handful of games for her county and looked generally out of salts for much of the Ashes Series. With her slow flighted spin there is very little margin for error. But it seemed in the West Indies that she had rediscovered her length (2/7 and 4/17 - her best ever ODI stats) and she helped England win the ODI series 2-0.
In her eight year career with England the 24 year old has played in 5 Tests, 50 T20s and 72 ODIs. She has taken a total of 174 wickets (13, 63 and 98 respectively) and scored a total of 330 runs. Her 98 wickets in ODIs puts her just 8 behind England's top wicket-taker, Jenny Gunn, and she has played 43 less games). Initially she struggled with the bat, but she worked hard on her batting and has impressed in some recent performances - she and Anya Shrubsole so nearly got England over the line against Australia in the 2013 World Cup Super Six game adding 31 for the last wicket in a low-scoring game. It may trouble her that her highest score for England was just 29, but in truth she was given very few opportunities to show what she can do with the bat.
But England played her for her bowling and she rarely let them down. She was not a big spinner of the ball, but her slow looping deliveries meant it was down to the batsmen to get pace on the ball. Frequently they failed and although she may not have taken as many wickets as she would have liked, she frequently bowled miserly spells which induced mistakes at the other end.
There is no doubt that England will be a weaker team without her. Whether she will return to the game, as Sarah Taylor did after a break, seems doubtful. Her sudden departure left England with no left-arm spin option in the Senior squad. This has been swiftly rectified by the enhancement of Rebecca Grundy to the main squad from the Academy. No doubt England thought that Holly would be around for many years to come. But that, sadly, is not to be.
We wish her well in her career outside of cricket.