WELLINGTON: New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum on Tuesday announced that he will retire from international cricket after the Test series against Australia in February next year.
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 February 12. The second Test of that series - starting at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on February 20 - will be McCullum's last match for New Zealand.
It means that McCullum, one of the world's hardest-hitting and most innovative batsmen, will not play in next year's World Twenty20 to be held in India. Kane Williamson has been announced the Black Caps' captain for the World T20.
McCullum wanted to delay the announcement till the Christchurch Test but the impending naming of the squad for the World T20, in which he will not be included, forced him to announce it right after the second Test against Sri Lanka, which New Zealand won by five wickets on Monday.
“Ideally, I would have preferred to wait until after the ANZ Test in Christchurch to make this news public,” McCullum was quoted as saying by blackcaps.co.nz.
“However, the schedule for naming the ICC World T20 squads means I could not have managed this without causing a lot of confusion and speculation – something I was keen to avoid. Given the questions likely to be raised when the ICC World T20 squad is announced, it was thought better to be upfront and explain the situation now.
“I’ve loved my opportunity to play for, and captain the Black Caps, but all good things have to come to an end, and I’m just grateful for the wonderful experience of playing for my country.”
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, guiding New Zealand to unprecedented success in Test and one-day matches. 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.