A tearful Chris Cairns admitted the time was right to pull down the curtain on his international career.
The BLACKCAPS legend announced his retirement an emotional press conference at New Zealand Cricket’s offices in Christchurch.
The 36-year-old will play his final game for the BLACKCAPS in the Twenty20 game against the West Indies at Eden Park, Auckland on February 16.
Eighteen years earlier to the day, he made his Under-19 debut against India, his Test debut coming a year later.
Appearing alongside coach John Bracewell and New Zealand Cricket CEO Martin Snedden, both former team-mates, Cairns said: “The time is now right for me to exit international cricket.
“It’s been a very big part of my life and I’m actually quite glad to have two guys with me who were on my very first touring expedition with New Zealand. We’ve just been joking that the 80s have been well and truly put to bed.
“As a player, I’ve always wanted to be the best that I could be. I feel exiting now that I still am the best I could possible be at this time.
“There are other commitments I have in my life; my family, who are very special to me and business commitments I would like to go through with and explore.”
Cairns, who retired from Test cricket after the 1994 tour of England, added: “The time is right for me to say thank you to the fans and New Zealand Cricket and there are other challenges to take on. Cricket has been wonderful to me
“Having retired from Test cricket in England, at Trent Bridge, it now means that I can say goodbye at home.”
Looking back on his career, Cairns chose two special memories.
The first was the BLACKCAPS’ ICC Knockout Cup in 2000. He recalled: “I’ve always been one for breaking new ground and going where no once else has trod and for us to win an international trophy overseas was a huge one and to play a major role was fantastic.
“But to think of one moment, it would be Lord’s in 1999. It was an amazing feeling and the victory that we had there’s a moment I will cherish and take with me.”
Cairns hoped he would leave happy memories for BLACKCAPS fans.
“I just hope people have enjoyed watching my career,” he said. “I know that New Zealand Cricket has been stuck with the Cairns since about ’75 so it’s 30 years that the name has been around.
“And I hope the name Cairns has given value for money over the last few decades. I just hope that when people talk about my career, they talk about it with a smile on their face and say ‘he was worth watching’.”