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Todd Astle quits red-ball cricket to prolong limited-overs career
New Zealand News

Todd Astle quits red-ball cricket to prolong limited-overs career

Todd Astle has retired from red-ball cricket to shift his focus on limited-overs cricket, having made only five Test appearances.

The 33-year-old leg-spinner made the announcement ahead of New Zealand A's first-class series against India A.

Astle made his Test debut in 2012 and picked up seven wickets across five matches at an ordinary average of 52.57.

While he regarded Test cricket as the pinnacle of the sport, Astle admitted the gruelling requirements of the conventional red-ball format were taking a toll on his fitness amidst changing priorities.

"Playing Test cricket was always the dream and I’m so honoured to have represented my country and province in the longest form of the game," he said.

"Red-ball cricket is the pinnacle, but it also requires a huge amount of time and effort.

"As I’ve got to the back end of my career I’ve found it harder to maintain the level of commitment required to be fully invested in this version of the game.

Astle's illustrious first-class career saw him register 334 wickets at 32.17 across 119 games with his batsmanship offering added value to his all-round skills.

He finishes his career as Canterbury's highest wicket-taker in first-class cricket with a tally of 303 scalps whereas he last appeared on the apex level for the Black Caps against Australia earlier this month.

"I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to achieve with Canterbury and the Black Caps. To have the opportunity to play a Test against Australia at the SCG was an experience I’ll always cherish," he said.

"I’m excited to now focus all my energy into the white-ball formats, as well as give more time to my young family and new business."

Astle's decision to step away from red-ball cricket indicates his resolve to break into New Zealand's T20 set-up before the T20 World Cup in October-November. He has only three T20Is to his name and would be hoping to turn out for the Kiwis in more 20-over contests.

New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen said: "Todd’s been an absolute stalwart for Canterbury in the Plunket Shield and his first-class record speaks for itself."

"To prepare and play four-day cricket at such a level for the best part of 15 seasons is a credit to him and his perseverance. His ability to turn the ball both ways and build pressure always made him a threat with the red-ball in hand.

"We appreciate this would have been a tough call for Todd and we absolutely support his proactive decision."

Astle's absence might pave the way for a Test recall for Ajaz Patel in the upcoming series against India.