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22-Dec-2015 04:44:00 GMT
New Zealand news

McCullum Announces International Retirement

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum announces international retirement
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum announces international retirement

Hamilton: New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum announced Tuesday he will retire from international cricket in February, ending one of the sport's most colorful careers.

The 34-year-old McCullum will become the first cricketer to play 100 consecutive test matches when he takes the field in New Zealand's first test against Australia in Wellington from Feb. 12. McCullum is expected to make the second test of that series – starting in Christchurch on Feb. 20 – his last match for New Zealand.

It is likely that McCullum, one of the world's hardest-hitting and most innovative batsmen, will also play a limited role in New Zealand's forthcoming one-day series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, but will miss next year's Twenty20 World Cup.

McCullum, who is expected to be replaced by 25-year-old batsman Kane Williamson, hopes to continue to make a full contribution until his final match.

McCullum made his test debut against South Africa in 2004 and hasn't been absent from the New Zealand test side since. He established himself first as a wicketkeeper and lower order batsmen but was forced to give up keeping late in his career because of a back injury and has batted higher in the order.

In his 99 tests to date, McCullum has accumulated 6,273 runs to be New Zealand's second-highest test run-scorer after former captain Stephen Fleming (7,172). He has scored nine centuries and averaged 38.48 in tests. Last year he became the first New Zealander to score a test triple century, making 302 against India in Wellington.

That innings, along with two double centuries, saw him score 1,164 runs in 2014 which stood as a calendar year record by a New Zealand batsman until Kane Williamson (1,172) surpassed the mark during this week's second test against Sri Lanka.

McCullum became New Zealand's test and one-day captain in controversial circumstances in 2013 when new head coach Mike Hesson fired Ross Taylor between the first and second tests.

Public objections about the manner of McCullum's appointment quickly subsided as he proved himself an outstanding leader.

Under McCullum, New Zealand is unbeaten in tests at home since 2013 – a run of 13 matches – and reached the final of this year's one-day World Cup.

McCullum also excels in the short formats, having scored 5,909 runs in one-day internationals and 2,140 in Twenty20s.

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