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Anaru Kitchen, a stalwart in New Zealand domestic cricket, has decided to walk away at the end of the 2021-22 season. The 38-year old amassed 10,841 runs, and five trophies, in 348 games across all formats for Auckland and Otago. Kitchen made his international debut in December 2017, nine years into his professional career, and played five T20Is for New Zealand.
"Cricket started for me the same as it does for most New Zealand kids, with plenty of backyard cricket and beach cricket on family holidays," he said in an Otago Cricket press release. "Once I got a hold of the game, I remember the old man making me bat with a stump instead of a bat which was a good challenge."
In December 2008, Kitchen announced his arrival on the domestic scene with a half-century on debut for Auckland against Canterbury in the State Shield, playing against the likes of Shane Bond and Chris Harris in one of the Eden Park Ovals.
"I was batting four or five walking out to bat, when Auckland captain Richard Jones walked past me and said, 'It is hooping out there mate, good luck','' Kitchen said. 'I thought to myself, this is Shane Bond, one of New Zealand's best fast bowlers… let's see how this goes.
"I was lucky to bat with now great mate, Reece Young, who guided me through the innings, and from there I managed to top score with 69 runs".
A solid left-arm spinner as well, Kitchen picked up 130 wickets across formats and was part of Auckland's Plunket Shield winning side in 2008-09. Four more titles came his way - the Ford Trophy in 2010-11 and 2012-13 and the Super Smash in 2010-11 & 2011-12 - before he eventually moved to Otago in search of a new challenge.
"It was a pleasure to have Anaru at Otago," their CEO Mike Coggan said. "He was an important signing back in 2015-16, a great team man and a consistent performer with bat and ball ever since his arrival from Auckland.
"I will not forget the memorable double-century Anaz (Anaru) scored at home versus Northern Districts back in 2017. At his best, he was one the cleanest strikers of a cricket ball in domestic cricket. Otago Cricket wish Anaru all the very best in retirement."
Kitchen paid thanks to his supporters as he prepared to step aside and spend more time with his two boys and partner, before returning to work as an electrician for Aotea Electric.
"Reece Young, Richard Jones, Gareth Hopkins and Rob Walter are mentors that have given me all the advice and guidance I could ask for," he said. "I have also had brilliant support from the players and staff at Otago Cricket, who welcomed me with open arms and gave me a home."