Matthew Bell, the former New Zealand opening batsman, has announced his retirement from all forms of the game, after struggling with injuries over the past two seasons.

"It's a decision that's been coming for a while now," Bell said. "But it's time for me to get on with the next phase of my life and to let some of the younger guys have the same chances that I've had. Retirement is a bit of an emotional thing but it was important to me to call time on it at the right time for the right reasons."

Bell, who made his Test debut against India in 1998 in Wellington, played 18 Tests for New Zealand scoring 729 runs at an average of 24.30. Following a poor Test series against Australia in 2001, he was dropped from the Test side only to be recalled seven years later in 2008 for the series against Bangladesh at home.

He scored a century against Bangladesh in the first Test at Dunedin but played only four Tests after that, with his last Test against England in Napier in March 2008. Bell also played seven ODIs for New Zealand between 1998 and 2001.

Bell represented Wellington at the first-class level in New Zealand for 14 seasons from 1997-98 and captained them for eight seasons. He scored 20 first-class centuries and is the only New Zealand batsman to twice score 1000 first-class runs in a domestic season and is the leading run-scorer for Wellington with 6565 runs.