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Craig McMillan retires from all cricket

Craig McMillan has ended speculation about his future in international cricket by announcing his retirement, citing health and personal reasons.

A diabetic, the abrasive middle order batsman confirmed the end of his decade-long career with the Black Caps at a media conference at New Zealand headquarters in Christchurch.

McMillan, who fought back from near obscurity to star in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy-winning side in February, was retained for the subsequent World Cup in the West Indies.

His swansong was last month’s Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa, where he was one of the biggest hitters – clubbing a tournament high 13 sixes before the Blacks Caps were eliminated in the semifinal by Pakistan.

The 31-year-old’s future has been the subject of intense speculation since he indicated he wanted out of his New Zealand Cricket contract after missing selection for the test squad that leave tomorrow to tour South Africa.

Although he would have been an automatic choice for the one-day segment of the tour after the two-tests, McMillan has instead decided to retire.

“I have decided that the time is right for me to retire from cricket to spend more time with my family, as well as look after my health, as I have had ongoing issues related to diabetes,” he said.

“I feel that the past season has been one of the best of my cricket career and I am happy to be retiring on a really positive note.

“I will now spend time with my family before deciding what direction I will take with my future.”

One potential option could be for him to join the rebel Indian-based Twenty20 cricket league which has already secured the services of his brother-in-law, former Black Caps veteran Nathan Astle.

He said this was under consideration but he also wanted to explore business interests.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan said the organisation was disappointed to lose a player of McMillan’s experience.

“His performances at the recent Twenty20 World Cup were tremendous and it is clear he could have contributed greatly in the future,” Vaughan said.

“However, I have decided to release Craig from his NZC contract on compassionate grounds. I understand his reasons for wishing to retire and wish him all the best for the future.”

The selection panel will now discuss a replacement for McMillan on the contracted players list.

McMillan made his test debut against Australia at Brisbane in 1997 and made the last of his 55 appearances, again Australia, in March 2005 in Wellington.

He scored 3116 runs at 38.46, including six centuries and 19 half centuries.

Regarded as a one-day player in the latter stages of his career, McMillan’s career appeared to be over after he failed to figure after the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy series in 2005.

However, an injury to Astle saw him return against Sri Lanka last December and retained for the one-day tri-series across the Tasman involving Australia and England.

Arguably McMillan’s greatest contribution came in February when he was instrumental in propelling the Black Caps to a 3-0 Chappell-Hadlee series whitewash.

After clubbing a match winning-half century at Eden Park, he surpassed that feat with an extraordinary 117 in the dead rubber at Hamilton as the Black Caps chased down 347 with a wicket in hand.

His 100 off 67 balls in the fastest ever scored by a New Zealander in ODIs.

He played the last of his 197 ODIs at the World Cup semifinal loss to Sri Lanka in the West Indies in April.

McMillan amassed 4707 runs at 28.18 in ODIs with three centuries and 28 50s. His nagging medium pacers also snared 49 wickets at 35.04.

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Categories: Cricket News
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  1. October 20, 2007 at 4:16 am

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