Iain O'Brien to retire from international cricket

Iain O'Brien celebrates Umar Gul's wicket Getty Images

Iain O'Brien, the New Zealand fast bowler, will retire from international cricket at the end of the Test series against Pakistan to move to the UK to be with his wife and play for Middlesex.

O'Brien said the decision had been a tough one to make but that his personal circumstances were such that he could no longer keep his national commitments. "My wife lives and works in the UK and my immediate future is there," O'Brien said. "Since we married, two and a half years ago, we have spent only nine months together. I am 33 years old and my main focus now is becoming a 'proper' husband, starting a family, settling down and securing my future in that country. Cricket has been my number one; I've placed it in front of everything else. It's now time to put Rosie first and start a family. I intend to keep playing the game I love in the UK, and have an opportunity to finish my career with Middlesex county.

"I would like to thank New Zealand Cricket for supporting me in this decision. I would also like to acknowledge Dan Vettori for his support and confidence in me in recent years, plus the boys I've been on the park with and trained with for whom it has been a pleasure to represent my country with. I have had an opportunity to play with some New Zealand greats and I will only look back with fondness on my time spent with them on and off the park.

"This has been one very tough decision and I walk away with a heavy heart but I know, for certain, that I have made the right decision for me, my wife and my future."

O'Brien took nine wickets in the ongoing Test series against Pakistan, including three wickets in the second innings in Dunedin after dislocating his finger. He has taken 67 wickets in 21 Tests and 14 wickets from 10 ODIs. O'Brien represented Leicestershire in 2009 and took 21 wickets, including a nine-for, in seven first-class matches.

He made his Test debut against Australia in Christchurch in 2005 and his best figures of 7 for 165 came in a drawn Test against West Indies in Napier last December.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said the team would miss O'Brien's energy and enthusiasm to have a go with the ball. "I don't think people quite realise how much the team will miss him in terms of his bowling and the intensity and energy to want the ball at all stages," Vettori said. "Iain has always wanted to bowl and Chris Martin and him have been by go-to-guys since I became captain. To take one of them away, and with Chris getting on a bit, it could be a change of guard with our bowling attack. Over the next few years we will start to fully appreciate Iain's contribution."

Justin Vaughan, New Zealand Cricket's chief executive, said the board was sorry to see O'Brien leave after his contributions to the national team over the last five years. "He has been a consistent performer, and has always given everything to the game, as demonstrated by his tremendous efforts in the past two Test matches. We respect his reasons for retirement and wish him the best. He gives his all on the park, and his genuine commitment and infectious personality are there to see on and off the field."