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All-rounder Kirk Wernars is leaving Sussex to take a year’s break from the game.
The 21-year-old South African signed a contract extension until the end of the 2014 season in November, but has made the decision to return to his homeland in order to spend more time with his family and explore his passion of wildfire fire-fighting.
Wernars, who has made six first-class and 12 limited-overs appearances since joining Sussex in early 2011, 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 added: “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.”
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