I never thought I would say this but I am glad that Kevin Dean has announced his retirement.
I thought his place was in jeopardy for next season and would have hated to see John Morris release a man who has been a great servant to the club. I am convinced that but for a run of injuries he could have gained England honours. At his peak there were few better seamers around, and he had a talent for moving the ball around and causing problems if there was a heavy atmosphere.
The last year or so has seen the nip disappear from his bowling and although he could still get men out, he no longer ran through sides. Over 400 wickets at a good average of 26 is testimony to his ability and he remained one of the most affable men in the club. At 32 he has had a good career and will be remembered as one of the best left arm seamers we have had.
Having recently become a father his priorities have no doubt changed and I wish him well for his future career. He will be remembered as a fine player and a top bloke.
His fielding was steady if not spectacular and his batting was functional, with Kevin having the ability to keep an end going, as he did on numerous occasions, especially as night watchman. Few among us will forget his winning runs against the Aussies a few years back or his winning smile, even in adversity.
I'll remember him for that smooth, lithe run up to the wicket and the good line he so often bowled. His ability to take quick wickets was highlighted by two hat tricks and even this year he ran through Bangladesh at Derby in the first innings.
It is good and right that fans will have a chance to say goodbye at this weekend's match against Warwickshire. Curiously, as I watched Ross Whiteley last night I wondered if he might be a new Kevin Dean. He has a long way to go to reach that standard, but if he does, he'll be a good 'un.