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December 10, 2004
Mark Richardson, the New Zealand opening batsman, has announced his retirement from all forms of the game, but insisted that the decision was not made because of poor form. Richardson, who struggled against Australia's pace attack in the recent two-Test series, said he had been contemplating ending his career for the past year.
"The fact I have had a lean run over the last four Tests wasn't the reason for coming to this decision," he said. "Many cricketers have gone much longer than four Tests without scoring runs, but it highlighted to me that I am no longer in the mindset I was in when I enjoyed playing the most."
Richardson, 33, said that he was finding it increasingly difficult to sustain the intensity required to be successful at the international level. "It is hard to let go from playing all competitive cricket, as it has been such a big part in my life, but the decision is one which sits comfortably with me."
New Zealand fans will remember Richardson for his brave and obdurate batting, while the world knows him best as New Zealand's slowest runner in an end-of-series dash. Richardson, whose last international act was to beat Darren Lehmann at Adelaide, is hoping to pursue a media career as a writer and commentator.
Martin Snedden, the New Zealand Cricket chief executive, said that he was disappointed at Richardson's retirement because he still had much to offer. "Mark has had an outstanding career and will be a sad loss to the game," he said. "He played in 38 Test matches and his four Test centuries, 19 half-centuries and Test average of 44 were a result of great perseverance and determination."
Richardson's final outing will be for the State Auckland Aces match against the State Canterbury Wizards at Christchurch next week.
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