(CNN) -- Ashes-winning England captain Michael Vaughan quit all forms of professional cricket with immediate effect on Tuesday -- and then backed his colleagues to triumph in the forthcoming series against Australia.
Former England cricket captain Vaughan looks deep in thought after announcing his decision to quit cricket.
The 34-year-old Yorkshire batsman was England's most successful Test captain of all time with 26 wins from his 51 matches in charge.
Vaughan's achievements include leading England to their first Ashes victory against Australia for 18 years in 2005 when he also took his nation to a first Test series win in South Africa for 40 years.
His decision to call time on his career follows his omission from England's 16-man training squad for the five-Test confrontation starting in Cardiff on July 8.
Vaughan, who relinquished the England captaincy last summer, told a press conference: "After a great deal of consideration, I've decided that now is the right time to retire from cricket.
"It has been an enormous privilege to have played for and captained my country and this is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make. Having played almost non-stop for 16 seasons, I feel that the time is right for the focus to shift to the next generation.
"We have some fantastic talent coming through the English counties and, with the next Ashes series upon us, now is the time for the younger players to rise to the challenge of building on the success achieved in English cricket in the last few years.
"I'd like to record my sincere thanks to the England fans and the ECB and the members and supporters of Yorkshire County Cricket Club for their unstinting backing throughout my career as well as my wife Nicola and the rest of my family who have been equally supportive."
He added: "I'm also extremely grateful to all of the players, managers, coaches, media and administrators I've worked with, who have all contributed to making my career so enjoyable and fulfilling.
"I'd also like to wish (captain) Andrew Strauss and the current England team success in this Ashes series. I know they have the drive, ambition and abilities to repeat the success from 2005. Winning that series was most definitely the highpoint of my career".
As a batsman, Vaughan scored 18 Test hundreds for England following his debut in 1999 and was ranked the number one batsman in the world following the 2002/3 Ashes Series in Australia in which he made 633 runs including three centuries.
"He is the best captain I've played under," said Strauss. "That goes for any form of cricket.
"His achievements can't be underestimated, the way he took the team forward, the relaxed way he was able to get us playing cricket.
"A lot of the stuff was behind the scenes -- the way he dealt with players on a one-to-one basis was exceptional. And he cared. It's important to remember what a great player he was. It's a sad day."
Strauss added: "I learned a great deal from watching him captain the side for five years at close hand and his ability to identify a new strategy for outwitting the opposition or bring the best out of his own players was a priceless asset.
"But more than anything we as players will miss the enormous sense of fun and enjoyment that Michael brought to the dressing room. He will be missed by everyone connected with the team and we wish him every success in his future career."
England Cricket Board Chief Executive David Collier said: "Everyone associated with cricket in England and Wales will be forever grateful to Michael Vaughan for his immense contribution to England's success.
"His achievement in leading England to victory against the number one ranked team in the world, Australia in 2005, was arguably the finest by any England captain in the modern era."