New Zealand news October 13, 2009

Oram retires from Test cricket

Cricinfo staff

Jacob Oram has announced his retirement from Test cricket but will continue to play one-day and Twenty20 matches for New Zealand. Oram cited his ongoing injury problems as the reason behind his decision and he hoped that by cutting back his workload he would be able to extend his international career.

Oram, 31, recently returned home from the Champions Trophy in South Africa with a hamstring problem, the latest in a long and wide-ranging list of injuries. His troubles have included back and foot worries and have limited him to 33 Test appearances over a seven-year career.

He had spoken in the past of the options available to him to prolong his career and he said his preference was to give up Tests rather than abandon bowling. Oram has now done just that, following the lead of another injury-prone allrounder Andrew Flintoff.

"The last few years have shown that my body cannot handle the strains and stresses that come with being an allrounder, playing all three formats for up to ten months a year," Oram said. "For the sake of longevity I have had to make a decision that will decrease my workload, so I can concentrate all my efforts on the shorter forms of the game.

"The decision to choose limited-overs cricket over Test cricket has a lot to do with playing opportunities. The Black Caps play a lot more limited-overs cricket than Tests, and there's also the opportunity to continue playing in world events such as the World Cup, World T20 and Champions Trophy, as well as the IPL."

Another factor was the impending arrival of Oram's first child, due next month, which will give him extra incentive to spend plenty of time at home. Oram will remain on a New Zealand Cricket central contract and has his sights set firmly on the 2011 World Cup, although he said that ideally he would like to play for a couple of seasons beyond that.

On the Test scene, Oram scored 1780 runs at 36.32 and collected 60 wickets at 33.05. A powerful and clean striker of the ball, Oram struck five Test centuries, remarkably each time in the first Test of a series, and his highest score of 133 came in a crushing loss to South Africa in Centurion in April 2006.

It was an innings that Oram described as both his best and his worst. "You know you're not looking as good as you would like," he said at the time, "and your feet aren't moving as well as you would like, and you're not hitting the ball where you would like. But 133 is damn satisfying."

Oram struggled to have as much impact with the ball and his peak came early in his career when he collected 4 for 41 against India in Hamilton in his second Test. It was as close as he ever got to a five-wicket haul and in his last five Tests he managed only one wicket.

Oram did enjoy spending some time in the top five of the ICC's allrounder ranking list last year and he considered his bowling such a key part of his game that he was unwilling to give it up. He said he had attempted to delay as long as possible a decision about his future career.

"However in light of my latest injury at the Champions Trophy it has became clear to me that now is the time to sacrifice something to try and stay in the game longer," Oram said. "I have really enjoyed my Test career and I leave that format with many fond memories. I would be lying if I said I had no regrets, however these feelings were not powerful enough to make me reconsider this decision."

Justin Vaughan, the chief executive of New Zealand Cricket, said he understood Oram's decision. "Jacob has made a tremendous contribution to our Test team over the past seven seasons, and his experience will be missed," Vaughan said. "But we fully understand the difficulties he's faced with injuries and we hope this decision will help him prolong his playing career with the Black Caps."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Billy on October 15, 2009, 6:02 GMT

    It's about time he retired, just a shame he isn't retiring from all forms. The man played 2 or 3 very good one dayers in the australian tri-series almost 3 years ago and everyone is still convinced he's brilliant. anybody else he performed consistently as poorly as he does would have been dropped long ago, but because he carries this inexplicable aura of potential greatness he continues to make the team based on, well, no merits whatsoever really. New Zealand cricket needs to open their eyes to players like Oram, and also to McCullum, and realise that to play for your country you have to deserve to be there by consistently performing well. Oram has never consistently performed well, and if the selectors have any sense they should suggest to him he retires altogether. how the hell did he get a $900,000 IPL contract? It defies logic.

  • Afsar on October 15, 2009, 3:54 GMT

    doesn't make difference to NZ test team... he is like another Flintoff, cant depend competely on him...nor we can take him lightly... on his day no one come near to him in hitting the leather hard. He also injury prone like flintoff, but i rate much better than flintoff.. Best of luck in shorter version Oram.... hope u rip the Aussie bowling attack ;-)

  • Jeremy on October 13, 2009, 23:49 GMT

    Probably a wise decision, except that NZ seem to only play a handful of tests per year... The NZ team predominantly plays shorter cricket versions anyway, so I don't completely buy his reasoning. Playing a couple of tests less per year surely won't set the world on fire for his fitness. Great player though. Highly talented fieldsman for a tall man.

  • Chris on October 13, 2009, 20:47 GMT

    What a GREAT player is.... he will be a big loss to the NZ test team. Statiscally up there with the NZ batting greats ... just look at his average .... moreover FEW kiwis have scored more test centuries than him, all of these having much more tests than Jake... on top of this, he had a reasonable test bowling average

  • Mark on October 13, 2009, 9:36 GMT

    Another decent NZ cricketer retiring way too early... following in the footsteps of MD Crowe, Shane Thomson, Dion Nash, CL Cairns, Fleming, Astle, Macmillan and Styris. The powers that be have to do something to keep these guys fit for longer!

  • Deepan on October 13, 2009, 9:32 GMT

    Good Decision Jake.... already we got Haydos as full time, freddie quits test and now the Jake. Good for Chennai Superkings..... happy recovery jake

  • ben on October 13, 2009, 9:03 GMT

    Why can't you critics just congratulate him on brilliant career?! Why does their need to be negatives.

  • Rakitha on October 13, 2009, 8:13 GMT

    Comgtatulations on a good career. Although his great allrounder image decreased over the last year, he was still a good player for nz. Grant Elliot has big shoes to fill

  • Richard on October 13, 2009, 8:12 GMT

    Fully agree with SaifS. And jegu - sure, he may have 3 or 4 years left of test cricket, although that is highly unlikely. He would be lucky to get another year. And what does he do then? "Jackpot cricket" it may be, but it will give someone like Jake a few more years in the game, earning enough money to pay the bills once his cricket career is over. Bit of a no-brainer really. Only wish he had done it sooner, to be honest.

  • Saif on October 13, 2009, 7:45 GMT

    c.anns is right to some extent, Oram is a decent enough cricketer not someone to be written loads about far as the money packed cricket is concerned let's take all this in a positive's cricketers have a lot many options than their ancestors had and its not unethical to make use of them for personal interests.And anyway who would like Oram to make 20 runs in 100 balls??!! Players with the calliber of him Flintoffs and Symonds should do what we love them to do and if they know exactly that themselves then whats the big deal?! BTW I'm a big test cricket fan but one has to take things positively.............Good Luck and Happy recovery Jacob!

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