Saturday, January 27, 2007

New Zealand Opener Nathan Astle Declared His Retirement from the International Cricket

New Zealand cricekter Nathan Astle has recently declared his retirement from International cricket. It has come in the form of a surprise for his fans as well as his team as the coming world cup is just six weeks to start. This star opening batsmen and slow medium occasional but very effective bowler played 81 test matches and 223 ODI matches in his career. He pointed that he has taken the decision due to his lack of motivation. Jamaica Gleaner reported:

"I have been fighting this day for about eight months," Astle said. "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," he added.

"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," he said.

He said he reached his decision after Tuesday's match against England in Adelaide and is undecided on whether to continue at first-class level.

Astle scored 16 centuries in limited-overs internationals, a record for New Zealand, and 7,090 runs at an average of 34.92. Only current captain Stephen Fleming has scored more one-day runs for New Zealand.

He also made 4,702 runs in Tests, including 11 centuries, and took 99 wickets, but his finest achievement was an innings of 222 against England in Christchurch five years ago when his 153-ball double century became the fastest in history.

The New Zealand coach John Bracewell reacted with surprise to Astle's decision and said his departure is a huge loss to the side.

"Statistically, his record puts him into a position of greatness, but probably the greatest loss will be his stability and influence inside the team," Bracewell said.

Astle made his debut in 1995 against West Indies at home. Back-to-back hundreds on a tour of West Indies in his third and fourth Tests earned him a permanent place in the side and he peaked in 2002 with the fastest Test double-century.

He reached the milestone from only 153 balls against England at Christchurch and went on to finish with 222, his highest Test score.”

It seems that fans will miss another star in the World Cup Cricket. This really matters when one of the most experienced and a reliable player in the team goes for retirement just before a big tournament like World Cup Cricket. I do not know how New Zealand will get over such a big gap in the side.