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July 8, 2011
Aimee Watkins, the New Zealand captain, has retired from all forms of cricket. Watkins, 28, played two Tests, 103 one-day internationals and 36 Twenty20 games in a career spanning nine years.
She made her debut in an ODI against Australia at Adelaide in 2002 and quickly became a fixture in the side with her aggressive batting and accurate offspin. She retires as the fifth ranked all-rounder in women's cricket, having racked up 1889 ODI runs and 772 Twenty20 runs, to go with 92 and 22 wickets respectively, in the two formats.
In addition to her international exploits, Watkins has also been a key member of the Central Districts squad since 1998, and said she was very grateful for the opportunities to represent New Zealand and Central Districts.
"This is not a decision I have taken lightly and believe it's the right time to step down. I have given it my all over the past nine years with the White Ferns [New Zealand] and eleven years with the Central Hinds [Central Districts] and really enjoyed it," she said. "Cricket has been a massive part of my life for a long time and I'm going miss it, especially the people. I walk away with a lot of warm memories.
"I would like to thank my family, friends, coaches, Taranaki Cricket, NZC and everyone who has supported me over the years."
The highest point of Watkins' career was the 2009 World Cup, where she finished as New Zealand's leading wicket-taker with 11 scalps, including 4 for 2 against South Africa. She took over as New Zealand captain after Haidee Tiffen's retirement in 2009.
Gary Stead, the New Zealand women's coach, thanked Watkins for her service to cricket, calling her one of the "most consistent allrounders for a long period of time".
"Everyone associated with women's cricket will be grateful to Aimee for the immense contribution she has made," Stead said. "I'm sure it was a tough decision because everyone who knows her is aware of the pleasure and pride she has in representing the White Ferns.
"She has been one of the most consistent allrounders for a long period of time and a key member of the White Ferns squad, as well as a fine leader. Aimee is also a marvellous role model and great ambassador both on and off the field."
The new captain will be named in due course. Watkins signed off by top-scoring with 32 in her last game against India, but her effort was in vain as New Zealand lost the third-place play-off in the NatWest Women's Quadrangular Series.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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