Munro ditches red-ball cricket after 'passion' dims

Colin Munro drives through the covers Getty Images

Colin Munro, the New Zealand allrounder, has become the latest international cricketer to shelve his red-ball career to focus on the white ball saying that his "passion" for the longer format has diminished.

Munro, 30, played one Test for New Zealand in 2013 but has now established himself in the ODI and T20 sides at the top of the order. He has scored three T20I hundreds, the most by any player.

Despite holding a first-class average of 51.58, it was unlikely that Munro would have forced his way back into Test contention.

He will continue to play 50- and 20-over cricket at both domestic and international level. Last year pace bowler Mitchell McClenaghan opted out of a New Zealand central contract so he was free to take up T20 deals around the world, but Munro remains committed to international cricket with the 2019 World Cup a particular focus.

"It would be fair to say that my focus hasn't been on four-day cricket this season and my passion for that format of the game isn't what it once was," Munro said. "I'm still 100% committed to playing for the Blackcaps and Auckland Aces in the shorter formats and have some big goals I'd like to achieve in the next couple of years.

"Obviously with the World Cup next year I'd love to give myself the best chance of making that squad and that's where my main focus is."

Munro admitted he would have liked to have played more than his one Test - which came against South Africa in Port Elizabeth - but he was starting to have issues with his body which made first-class cricket tough.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to play more Test cricket in that time but you look at the guys who have come and made a real go of it. I've given a fair crack to first-class cricket and now it's a change of focus, I want to be part of that World Cup squad

"Being classed as more a batting allrounder I don't think the body is was it was a couple of years ago. I've carried a few niggles through this home summer. It wasn't like I could run and bowl 15-20 overs, even though I'm medium-slow."

Munro put his thoughts past former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, now his mentor, but it was very much is own choice. "I had chats with him a little while ago and he said he can't make the decision for me, it comes down to what's best for me and my family."

Last month, England pair Alex Hales and Adil Rashid opted to take up white-ball only contracts with their counties.

Meanwhile, Tom Latham and Martin Guptill will captain two New Zealand XI sides against England in their warm-up matches in Hamilton between March 14 and 17. The four days of cricket will be split between two with a pink ball under lights to prepare for the day-night Test at Eden Park and two in daytime conditions.

New Zealand will use those matches as a chance for a number of their Test players to tune up ahead of the two-match series although the frontline pace bowlers will have a separate camp in Mount Maunganui.

NZ XI squad - Two-day pink-ball match: Tom Latham (capt), Tom Blundell, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Scott Kuggeleijn, Henry Nicholls, Seth Rance, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Nathan Smith, Ish Sodhi, George Worker

NZ XI squad - Two-day red-ball match: Martin Guptill (capt), Logan van Beek, Tom Blundell, Doug Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Scott Kuggeleijn, Glenn Phillips, Seth Rance, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, George Worker