John Hastings has joined a recent exodus of players from international and first-class ranks to become a Twenty20 specialist after announcing his retirement from ODI and Test cricket on Friday.
A back injury, suffered as he prepared for the domestic limited-overs competition with Victoria, served as prelude to the decision, with Hastings informing team-mates of his new direction in Sydney this week. While initial assessments of the back injury had the 31-year old regaining fitness before the end of the tournament, he will now be missing from Australian cricket until the start of the Big Bash League in December, when he will serve as captain of the Melbourne Stars.
Chris Lynn, Luke Ronchi and Mitchell McClenaghan are among other cricketers who have this year opted to forego state or national team contracts in order to pursue T20 exclusively. Shakib Al Hasan and Upul Tharanga, meanwhile, have sought and received temporary breaks from Test matches.
In 2012, Hastings played his one Test, while he took part in 29 ODIs between 2010 and 2017, the last of which was a rained-out game in the Champions Trophy in June. In addition to the Stars, he was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL last year. The forthcoming South African T20 competition also looms as an option.
"I've had a tough run with injuries lately but I've still thoroughly enjoyed every moment with the Victorian boys over the years," Hastings said. "I also want to thank everyone involved over my Victorian journey who helped me become the cricketer I am today. Everyone has been amazing every step of the way.
"I've still got a bit left in the tank though, and I can't wait to get back on the park with the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash."
In domestic cricket, Hastings played 75 first-class matches for Victoria at home and Durham and Worcestershire in the English county circuit. In that time, he scored 11 fifties with a top score of 93 and took 239 wickets, including seven five-fors, at an average of 27.22. He played 113 List A matches for 179 scalps and his best figures of 6 for 45 came for Australia against Sri Lanka in August 2016.
"Hastings, or 'the Duke' as he was affectionately known to us, has made a big impact on Victorian cricket in his 11 years with us," said Victoria's general manager of cricket Shaun Graf. "It's unfortunate that such a great player and character has been brought down by injury, as he deserved a proper farewell from the Bushrangers who he has given so much to. We wish John all the best his future endeavours."
Hastings' only Test came against South Africa at the WACA Ground, in what was also Ricky Ponting's final appearance for Australia. Though he took only one wicket it was a good one - a classic away swinger to catch the outside edge of AB de Villiers' bat. As an ODI bowler he excelled in 2016, claiming 29 wickets in 15 matches, more than any other pace bowler that year.
"John has been a great servant of Australian cricket, and a player who worked extremely hard to be the best he could be, both at national and domestic level, and we congratulate him on his achievements," Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland said. "He was a brilliant competitor particularly in limited-overs cricket for Australia, and a smart cricketer who with bat and ball was always in the game and looking to play his role helping Australia and the Victoria Bushrangers achieve success on the field."