Brendon McCullum has confirmed his retirement from all international cricket after the Test series against Australia.
The 34-year-old’s last match for New Zealand will be against Australia in a Test match at Hagley Oval, Christchurch starting on February 20.
McCullum will become the first cricketer to play 100 consecutive Tests when he takes the field against Australia in Wellington on February 12.
The only New Zealander to score a Test triple-century, the former wicketkeeper has also played 254 ODIs and 71 international T20 matches.
McCullum said he wanted to delay the announcement on his retirement, but had to act early with squads being named for the upcoming World Twenty20 in India.
“The schedule for naming the ICC World T20 squads means I couldn’t have managed this without causing a lot of confusion and speculation – something I was keen to avoid,” said McCullum.
“I’ve been incredibly lucky to represent New Zealand for a long, long time. I’ve spent much of my adult life as a Black Cap and touring the world and getting the opportunity to play with a group of guys and represent their country.
“Not many get that opportunity and I feel incredibility proud to have done it for as long as I have.”
“I love playing cricket, but I guess all good things must come to an end. I’ve had a great time at the top of an international sport, but I know at some stage that has to come to an end and has to finish. I think it’s nice while you’re still contributing to the team and you’re still in a position where you can make these decisions as well.
“I think the team is just about ready for the next person to take over as well and I’ll certainly be supporting them from the sidelines.”
McCullum waved away suggestions his body was telling him it’s time to leave the game.
“My body has been a little bit sore for a while, but that’s just international sport, you’re always going to be a bit stiff and sore when you play at the top for as long as you do. In the end, the time has come and you have to move on.”
He went on to snub suggestions that the Chris Cairns saga played any part in his decision.
While adding the current crop of Black Caps is the best team he’s been a part of, he also credit the spirit in which the team play the game.
“The results and that are great, and that’s what you get judged on, but also I think the development and emergence of the people within the group, and the culture within the group, is one of the things to be probably most proud of.
“I’ve said it time and time again, but you would happily introduce any one of the guys in group, support staff as well, to anyone in world. They are tremendous ambassadors for New Zealand and for cricket in general and they play the game in the right spirits.
“It’s been a pleasure to play with those guys and to be able to lead them as well.”
McCullum noted that he wanted to retire on New Zealand soil, saying there is “a bit of romance” finishing his career in front of his own fans.
Kane Williamson will captain the Black Caps at the World Twenty20 tournament.
BRENDON MCCULLUM’S CAREER IN FIGURES
Matches: 99 (all consecutive)
Highest score: 302, v India, Wellington, 2014
Strike rate: 95.03
Highest score: 166, v Ireland, Aberdeen, 2008
Strike rate: 136.21
Highest score: 123, v Bangladesh, Pallekele, 2012