New Zealand news December 21, 2015

Brendon McCullum to retire from internationals in February

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Quick facts - McCullum only NZ player with four 200-plus scores

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum will retire from all forms of international cricket at the end of the home series against Australia in February 2016. McCullum, 34, made the announcement in Christchurch a day after his team won the Test series against Sri Lanka 2-0.

McCullum will not play the World T20 in March in India, where Kane Williamson will captain the New Zealand team. He will play his 100th Test against Australia in Wellington from February 12 - the first player to play so many consecutive matches from debut - and retire after the second and final Test of that series, in Christchurch from February 20.

McCullum said he would have preferred to reveal his retirement after the series against Australia, but the impending announcement of New Zealand's World T20 squad had forced his hand.

"Ideally, I would have preferred to wait until after the Test in Christchurch to make this news public," he said today. "However, the schedule for naming the ICC World T20 squads means I couldn't have managed this without causing a lot of confusion and speculation - something I was keen to avoid. I've loved my opportunity to play for, and captain the Blackcaps, but all good things have to come to an end, and I'm just grateful for the wonderful experience of playing for my country.

"There's a time and place for reflection and that's at the end of your career. For now, I'll be giving all my attention to helping the team focus on what's coming up over the next few weeks - and making sure we're in the best possible shape for what's going to be a very challenging summer."

McCullum had stepped into the New Zealand captaincy amid much controversy over the sacking of previous captain Ross Taylor, and his first Test series as captain, in 2013, was disastrous. That series featured an innings of 45 all out for New Zealand in Cape Town, and brought the team two innings defeats.

But New Zealand made significant strides under McCullum in the years since. In particular, he was credited with formulating New Zealand's highly aggressive brand of cricket, which has brought them much success, especially at home. With the victory against Sri Lanka in Hamilton on Monday, McCullum's New Zealand equalled the team's longest undefeated home streak, of 13 Tests. McCullum's current 11 victories from 29 matches also makes his win percentage the highest of any New Zealand captain, marginally better than that of Geoff Howarth, whose team had 11 wins from 30 games.

McCullum's captaincy also saw the blossoming of several New Zealand players. Trent Boult and Tim Southee have become one of the most feared new-ball pairs in the world during the past three years, while 25-year old batsman Kane Williamson has become the top-ranked Test batsman. New Zealand also played in their first World Cup final in March, under McCullum.

As a batsman, McCullum had been a high-impact, aggressive player for much of his career, batting largely in the middle order in Tests, and as an opener in the shorter formats. Recent years have seen improvements in his defensive game. In 2014, he became New Zealand's first triple-centurion, against India in Wellington. He was also the first New Zealand batsman to breach 1000 runs in a calendar year in 2014, having also hit a double-century against Pakistan, and 195 against Sri Lanka that year. McCullum is currently the joint-record holder for most Test sixes alongside Adam Gilchrist. He had hit his 100th six in the recent Test in Dunedin, and later said: "It's the only record I care about."

Having been designated wicketkeeper for 52 of his 99 Tests, McCullum also has 194 Test catches and 11 stumpings to his name.

What was your favourite Brendon McCullum moment? Tell us at fanfare@cricinfo.com

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cricinfouser on January 15, 2016, 13:37 GMT

    guy you will be missed

  • Ranga on December 24, 2015, 14:46 GMT

    Its surprising/Sad guys like him retire so soon. Cricket needs some players like him, wish they paid longer. Among the best athletes seen on a cricket field.

  • Arunkumar on December 24, 2015, 10:22 GMT

    He is the most energetic batsmen in cricket. I love to see his batting. Some player always inspire us even though they are not from our home team, He is the ONE among them... Gone a miss you Brend....

  • Mashudu on December 24, 2015, 9:10 GMT

    I just wonder how much of an impact the recently concluded corruption trial of Chris Cairns had on his decision… Having played international cricket for so many years, his hunger and motivation for the game would have been tested… Coupled with the recently concluded trial of Chris Cairns and the "behind the scenes" stuff which only professional cricketers are privy to; One can only wonder if Baz didn't consider his achievements, young family and blatant lack of strong leadership from the ICC and perhaps felt that he had nothing left to achieve in the game… Either way; kudos to him… He was indeed a great entertainer, a fierce competitor and a dedicated athlete… As a South African fan, I'll forever be haunted by his innings in the semi-finals of the 2015 cricket world cup… Grant Elliot may have scored the winning runs but Baz set the tone and transferred the pressure to the South Africans… Bon voyage.

  • RAGHAVENDRA on December 24, 2015, 1:45 GMT

    World cricket needs more players like Brendon .respected on and off the field by opponents and countrymen alike.

  • Ashley on December 24, 2015, 1:04 GMT

    Good against average test attacks. Was found out against higher quality teams. His duck in the WC final summed up his performances(or lack of them) in big games.

  • Steve on December 23, 2015, 12:12 GMT

    Can't add anything more to what has already been said. I agree he may have retired 2-3 years too soon. May be the retirement of his brother Nathan also played a part. Again, shows his class. Retire when you are on top and not crave for meaningless records.

  • Shahnawaz on December 23, 2015, 7:39 GMT

    Baz will be badly missed by the entire cricket fraternity... Complete Entertainer, Daring Leader, Amazing Athlete ... Take a Bow

  • sam on December 23, 2015, 0:35 GMT

    After the legend Gilly,he was the only 1 to come close to matching the Aussie great. A poor man's Gilly-B Mac. Take a bow,great entertainer!

  • Milroy on December 22, 2015, 23:32 GMT

    I'm absolute gobsmack by Baz's announcement. 3 years too early in my opinion. Chris Cairns saga may have contributed as well. World cricket need an inspiring leader like Baz in international circuit who can cut above the rest. We will miss you greatly.