Kirk Wernars, who has spent two hugely successful seasons at Hastings Priory, will not feature for Sussex County Cricket Club during the 2013 season.
The 21-year-old all-rounder will initially take a year’s break from cricket, during which time he will seek to spend time with his family in his native South Africa and look into his passion of wildfire fire fighting and the emergency services.
Wernars said: “This has not been an overnight decision and has been a very tough one to make. The past two years at Sussex have been a fantastic experience for me, both as a person and a cricketer. I have learnt so much from being here and will take a lot away with me, from every person that I have come into contact with at the club.
“As much as playing cricket for Sussex has been an exciting and happy time for me, there have been parts of my life I have missed, namely being with my family and living in Cape Town.
“I believe I need to take a break from cricket for a year, during which time I wish to explore wildfire fire fighting and emergency services. Thereafter I hope to be in a position to have greater clarity about the long term career I would like to pursue.”
Sussex’s professional cricket manager Mark Robinson said: “We’re really disappointed to lose Kirk both as a cricketer and as a person. As a cricketer, he really made great strides and had every chance of having a really successful summer. And as a person, he was a man of high values and high loyalty.
“We do though really respect his decision to want to be nearer his family again and we wish him every success, and hope perhaps to see him at some time in the future.”
Wernars was a key figure in the Priory side which won the Sussex League title two years ago and last summer he scored 555 league runs at an amazing average of 111.