Nathan McCullum says that this will be his last year in International Cricket. © Getty Images
Nathan McCullum says that this will be his last year in International Cricket. © Getty Images

New Zealand off spinner Nathan McCullum will be retiring from international cricket at the end of this season. Speaking to the Herald, Nathan 35 said that he wanted to give more time to his young and family and make sure that the next generation of spinners are well prepared for the grind in international cricket for the limited overs format.  “I don’t want to make a big song and dance about it, but it’s time to start thinking about the next phase of my life,” McCullum said. “I’ve got the sense that the end of this season is the right time to call it quits in international cricket.”  ALSO READ: New Zealand’s tour match called off due to dangeorus pitch conditions

McCullum is yet make his availability known for Otago beyond the current season, or given any inclination of playing in the Caribbean Premier League for St Lucia Zouks alongside Kevin Pietersen, Ross Taylor and Darren Sammy. Nathan had just moved to Auckland’s Glendowie in order for his fiancee Vanessa Waldron to pursue work opportunity, he had all his life lived in his hometown of Dunedin. The couple have three children – Luke,5, Jake,3, and Tom who is just 18 months old. “It’s been hard work for Vanessa in the past five years,” McCullum acknowledged. “She’s spent a lot of it pregnant and has had to do it on her own most of the time. It’s time for me to start investing time in my family and being there for dinners and helping the boys with their homework. I’m looking forward to it,” Nathan said.

Nathan did say that he will miss bowling to the world’s most aggressive and skilled batsmen but after meeting coach Mike Hesson and manager Mike Sandle, he is all but happy sharing the dressing room with younger crop of bowlers fast bowlers like Mitchell Santner, Anton Devcich and leg spinner Ish Sodhi. “We’ve got to get these guys up to speed and I’m looking forward to playing a mentoring role there,” Nathan explained. ALSO READ: Australia not ready for ‘wild experimentation’ against New Zealand in Trans-Tasman Trophy 2015-16

Nathan made his T20 debut in 2007 aged 27 , with 7 years of first class experience under his belt.He made his ODI debut in 2009. He has till played 61 T20I’s and 84 ODI’s for New Zealand picking up 55 and 63 wickets respectively. Nathan had mostly been given the impossible task of  stop the flow of runs in the middle – and occasionally death – overs. With an economy of 5 in ODIs and just below 7 is testament to his effectiveness. His batting ability was always handy for a lower order batsman scoring 4 half centuries at a average of 20+ and was also a swift fielder in the ground making him a valuable asset to New Zealand squad.

Nathan was never a wicket taker, his 136 first class wickets at 40 a piece made him a a non candidate for a berth in Test team. Hence focusing on only his ODI’s skills.  Stating his most memorable career highlight he said whenever he got the chance to put on the national team uniform and sing the national anthem was special, singling out the win over South Africa in quarter-final of the 2011 ICC World Cup in Dhaka as a chart topper. New Zealand were only defending 221 runs when Nathan turned the match over its head by taking 3-24 which contributed hugely to the team’s 49 run win.”To come back and win a match we shouldn’t have won was pretty special,” Nathan said. ALSO READ: NZ better prepared than Australia for upcoming Test series: Jimmy Neesham

Nathan maintains that he doesn’t have any regrets but as he became more and more matured his cricketing skills also improved a lot. Nathan doesn’t shy away from saying that he is absolutely cool with playing under brother Brendon McCullum’s captaincy. Nathan says, “Every now and then it’s hard case when your little brother is barking orders at you… but he deserves everything he gets in terms of praise. He’s worked his butt of and created this team along with Hess and Mike Sandle.”