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Retired Macca may join rebels

For one of the few times in his career Craig McMillan did what was expected yesterday – he retired.

The man who brought us reverse sweeps, the front-on stance to spinners, loopy bouncers, scored runs when no one expected and failed miserably when they did, secured a release from his New Zealand Cricket contract on compassionate grounds.

The timing is suspicious with a contract from the rebel league in India sitting on his dining-room table, but McMillan was adamant yesterday that it was coincidence and his career had to end because of family and health reasons.

A father of two, McMillan has been on the road for a decade and by all accounts his wife, Cherie, has said “enough” to raising the family alone.

Because he is a diabetic, McMillan’s health has been a continuing battle for most of his life and there was a scare last week when he was in hospital for two days suffering from a combination of influenza and diabetes.

McMillan, 31, has been released by NZC in “good faith”, meaning it will be disappointed if he turns around and signs with the rebel league, starting next month.

McMillan hinted he will sign but hoped people would see the bigger picture. “I’m retiring for health and family reasons and I’m happy about that, especially because the last 12 months has gone pretty well for me.

“The Indian thing (rebel league) is something I’m seriously looking at but I haven’t made a decision yet.

“When I do, it might disappoint some people but it will come down to what is best for me and my family – simple as that.”

New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan indicated he would not fall off his reclining office chair if McMillan became a so-called outlaw.

“First and foremost, I have no doubt his reasons for retiring are genuine” Vaughan said.

“But I’ve expressed to him I’d be disappointed if he did sign with the rebel league, because our position is we don’t agree with that league.

“The annoying thing from what we understand is the initial tournament clashes with our tour in South Africa so we’d far rather Craig was playing for us. I’ve told him that, but for his health and for his personal reasons he needs to get off this constant travel bandwagon.”

McMillan said he had wrestled with retirement for 14 months but chose to sign another year-long NZC contract in August because he could not reconcile the decision.

Now he feels content after a career than promised the world, faltered badly and then finished with a flourish during the Chappell-Hadlee series last summer and most recently at the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup.

“Ever since I was five or six years old, all I wanted to do was play cricket for New Zealand and for some reason I never had any doubt I would,” he said.

“I’ve lived my dream and like any career there have been good and bad times and I look fondly on most of it.

“The way I have played the last 12 months is good. A lot of people had written me off, so to show them I had something to offer was great.

“If I wasn’t a diabetic and didn’t have a young family, I reckon I’d play another three years but unfortunately I do have a health condition and I do have a young family who want more time from me.”

McMillan scored 3116 runs in 55 tests at 38.46, including six centuries and 19 half-centuries.

He played the last of his 197 one-day internationals in the World Cup semifinal loss to Sri Lanka. He amassed 4707 runs at 28.18, with three centuries and 28 50s.

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