London: Former England wicketkeeper Paul Nixon will end a 24-year professional career on Saturday when he retires from county cricket.

Frustrated at being unable to maintain the level of performance he expects of himself, the 40-year-old Nixon will quit after Leicestershire's Twenty20 quarterfinal against Kent irrespective of the result.

"My body knows now. I can't do it the way I want to do it anymore," Nixon said. "I can't keep to those high standards anymore. All of my mentors said to me that you'll know when the time is right and the time has come.

"I've thought about it for a few months now and am at ease with it. It's time for the youngsters to have their journeys now."

A vocal keeper and capable batsman noted for his reverse sweep, Nixon did not make his international debut until 2007 at age 37.

He played a Twenty20 against Australia and 19 one-day internationals. He was England wicketkeeper for the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean and hoped his performances would lead to a test appearance.

But the call to the test side never came.

Nixon was backup to Stewart on a 2000-01 tour to Pakistan and Sri Lanka but never played. He had to wait until the start of 2007 in Australia after England had lost the Ashes series 5-0 to make his international debut in limited-overs cricket.

By the time stalwarts Jack Russell and Alec Stewart were no longer in contention for the five-day game, Nixon was overlooked in favor of younger players including Chris Read, James Foster, Geraint Jones and present incumbent Matthew Prior.

"I've met some amazing people along the way and have some special memories," Nixon said. "I've loved every ball on the pitch and every moment I've been involved in off the pitch too. It's a very special life and I've made sure that I've never taken it for granted."

Aside from two years with Kent, Nixon was a Leicestershire player all his career.

"The Leicester public has been absolutely phenomenal towards me and I want to thank them for all of their support," Nixon said.

(Agencies)