Injured Kiwi pacer Bond retires from Test cricket

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Wellington, Dec. 23 (ANI): Black Caps fast bowler Shane Bond has announced his retirement from Test cricket,but will remain available for New Zealand in one-day and Twenty20 internationals.

Bond, 34, was forced to withdraw from the recent Test series against Pakistan after tearing an abdominal muscle in the first Test.

After further assessment, medical advice is that the injury will require more time than expected to heal.

Making the announcement today, Bond said it had been a difficult decision.

"The hardest thing is that I've always considered myself a test bowler - and it was such a great feeling to be back in the team last month and playing test match cricket with the Black Caps," the NZPA quoted him, as saying.

"I've worked really hard to get back to test match fitness - it's what I've been working towards for the past two years - and I feel I gave as much as I could. But looking back, so many of my injuries have come during test cricket. Unfortunately my body just won't let me continue to play at that level, given the workload and demands of Test cricket," he added.

"I don't want to end on an injury and I am absolutely committed to playing for the Black Caps. This way I hope I've got a better chance of continuing to play. I hope I'll be able to continue to contribute to the team and to New Zealand cricket fans for a while yet. It's been a tough call, because test cricket remains the ultimate form of the game - but I'm comfortable I've made the right choice," he further said.

Bond said he was now focusing on being fit for the Black Caps' limited overs matches against Australia, which start with two Twenty20 internationals in late February.

He said his recovery from injury was progressing well. He aims to be playing club cricket by late January, and hopes to play some one-day games for Canterbury in February.Bond finishes his test career in the top ten current international test bowlers - he is currently ranked ninth in the ICC test bowling rankings.

He has played 18 tests for New Zealand since making his debut against Australia in November 2001. He has taken 87 test wickets, at an average of 22.09.

His best test bowling came against Zimbabwe in 2005, taking six for 51. He has taken five wickets in an innings on five occasions - the most recent against Pakistan in Dunedin last month. (ANI)

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