Astle retires from international cricket

Nathan Astle, one of the finest cricketers ever to play for New Zealand, has faced his last ball wearing the black cap.

Today in Perth he announced his retirement from the international stage, bringing to an end a 13-year career with the Black Caps.

“I have been fighting this day for about eight months. I so desperately wanted to go to my fourth World Cup, but deep down inside I knew that I was lacking motivation and the enjoyment levels were just not there.

“Probably the first indications were last year when I was having a good run and not really enjoying the success that I was having. But because I wanted to go to the World Cup I probably fudged over these feelings, which was fine until about a month ago when it really started to hit home that this was no longer the place for me.

“Enjoyment has always been a huge factor for why I play the game and when that faltered I knew it was time to move on.

“Once I had made the decision that I would not be going to the World Cup, for the sake of the team, I needed to go as soon as possible to make way for another player. I don’t believe it would have been fair on my team mates to hold on.”

Astle played 81 tests and 223 one-day internationals for the Black Caps scoring 4702 test runs (11 centuries) at an average of 37.02 and 7090 one-day runs (16 centuries) at an average of 34.92. While there have been plenty of highlights, the two that stand out for Astle are the tour to England in 1999 and the 222 he scored against England at Jade Stadium in 2002. He is undecided about his provincial commitments.

“There will be some who will want to jump to different conclusions about why I am retiring at this time. I want to state that this team and management group is a great, tight-knit group and while it is well documented that I had some issues with the selectors last season, we sorted them out a long time ago. I will really miss the friendship and camaraderie of the team group,” Astle said.

Black Capscaptain Stephen Fleming said that the team was losing one of the finest batsmen ever to play for New Zealand. “I have played with him for a long time, going back to our Canterbury and then New Zealand stays. Nath was a very uncomplicated, naturally aggressive player who was just great to watch. He was also a great sounding board for me as a captain because of his calmness and consistency. He will be missed.”

Coach John Bracewell was equally complimentary. “Statistically his record puts him into the position of greatness but probably the greatest loss will be his stability and influence inside the team. Over the last few years Nathan has become a great mentor for the younger players, and sometimes the not-so-young. He is so well respected by both players and management alike because his contributions are well thought out, mature and come on the back of his experience and for these reasons he will always be remembered as a great player and a great team player.”

Lou Vincent will join the team in Perth today.

New Zealand Cricket Media Release

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