New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum to retire in February 2016

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Christchurch, Dec 22: New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum will retire from all international cricket in February, 2016 after a Test series against Australia.

McCullum revealed his plans at a press conference here on Tuesday and will play his last game at Hagley Oval here, starting February 20, next year.

Brendon McCullum

McCullum said the impending naming of the New Zealand squad for the World T20 in India, in which he will not be included, has forced his hand.

"Ideally, I would have preferred to wait until after the ANZ Test in Christchurch to make this news public," the 34-year-old said.

"However, the schedule for naming the ICC World T20 squads means I could not have managed this without causing a lot of confusion and speculation -- something I was keen to avoid."

"I've loved my opportunity to play for, and captain the BLACKCAPS, but all good things have to come to an end, and I'm just grateful for the wonderful experience of playing for my country."

McCullum added that this wasn't the time to reflect on his career, pointing out that New Zealand faced an exciting and challenging schedule over the next seven weeks -- with a series against Sri Lanka, followed by series against Pakistan and Australia, looming.

"There's a time and place for reflection, and that's at the end of your career," he said.

"For now, I'll be giving all my attention to helping the team focus on what's coming up over the next few weeks - and making sure we're in the best possible shape for what's going to be a very challenging summer."

Kane Williamson will captain New ZEaland at the World T20.

NZC chief executive David White emphasised that the decision to announce McCullum's plans was borne of circumstance, and a desire to be open and transparent with the media and public.

"Given the questions likely to be raised when the ICC World T20 squad is announced, it was thought better to be upfront and explain the situation now," he said.

White said clarifying the issue would help McCullum and enable the team concentrate on a busy international schedule summer ahead, starting with the One-Day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka in Christchurch on Boxing Day.

"We'll celebrate Brendon's wonderful contribution to New Zealand and world cricket at the end of the season. For now, we want to help him prepare for the upcoming seven weeks with the minimum of distractions."

The right-handed batsman scored 5,909 runs in 254 ODIs with five hundreds and is the only player with two international hundreds in Twenty20 cricket.

IANS

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