Ryan Carters calls time on cricket career, aged 26
BARELY three years removed from being considered one of Australia's brightest wicketkeeping prospects, Ryan Carters has called time on his cricket career.
He made the announcement while on a recuperative break with his fiancee in Bali.
But it wasn't in Kuta, with its late-night beach parties, drunken tourists and many pitfalls.
Because Carters isn't your average sportsman, nor your average 26-year-old.
He's staying in Penestanan, further north, in a small village where his fiancee has come to know some local families over several visits.
It says everything you need to know about why Carters was comfortable pulling the pin on a successful first-class career at the age of 26, when most athletes are hitting their prime.
It is a decision that will draw immediate parallels with that of England's rising Test star Zafar Ansari, who last month announced his retirement at every level in order to pursue a career in law.
While Ansari's decision shocked many throughout the cricketing world, it didn't surprise anyone close to him.
And nor should Carters'.
He has mixed emotions about leaving the game after eight years as a professional, but cricket has always struggled to grab his full attention.
"I feel sad that I won't be playing cricket again, at least not in a professional capacity, and I'm sure I'll miss playing and I'll miss all the friendships within the game - although they will continue, of course," Carters said on Friday.
"I've had a lot of other interests outside the game for some time - right throughout my cricket career, really.
"And I've decided I wanted to explore them full-time now.
"I want to further my education, I want to continue building Batting for Change and I want to really learn and explore what else is out there so hopefully in the long run I can make a difference with my career."
Ask Carters for his highlights from the past eight years and the 2014 Sheffield Shield title - in his first season with NSW after shifting from Victoria - leaps to mind.
As does the Big Bash League final the following year, even though Carters' Sydney Sixers fell in a last-ball defeat to the Perth Scorchers.
He scored 2515 first-class runs from 43 matches - an average of 35.92 - including an incredible 209 while playing for a Cricket Australia XI against New Zealand a mere 18 months ago.
On that day he put on an extraordinary 501-run partnership with fellow opener Aaron Finch, who added 288.
But his greatest achievement is the foundation of the Batting for Change charity, which provides support and education to disadvantaged women from cricket-playing countries.
In partnership with the LBW Trust, the charity has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars since its inaugural year in 2013.
"I've decided it's time to give these other things I'm really passionate about my full-time attention," he added.
"I'm really grateful to have played cricket professionally for eight years and for something like 20 years altogether.
"But sooner or later everybody has to decide whether or not to play any more, and in my case it has probably come a bit sooner than others.
"But I really feel it's the right time and I'm excited to venture out and try and make a difference in some other fields."
Carters is studying philosophy, politics and economics at Sydney University, where he will resume his studies after winter after undertaking an internship in public policy.
You get the impression a future in politics beckons. And Carters' answer won't dissuade you from that view - if only because it is delivered in much the same manner that a politician might employ.
"Politics and policy is something I'm very interested in because I think it makes a massive difference to the society that we live in and the outcomes for different groups of people," he said.
"I don't know where my long-term career is leading.
"I'm conscious that I need to learn a lot about what's out there and I need to be taking the next step on that journey with what I know at the moment and with some really great pathways ahead."