Injury-plagued Oram retires from Test cricket

Announcing his decision, which is effective immediately, Oram said a reduced workload would allow him to prolong his international career. "I have decided to retire from Test cricket. This decision has been a very tough one and has not been made without careful consideration and discussion with those closest to me," 31-year-old Oram, who is currently nursing a hamstring injury that cut short his Champions Trophy participation, told reporters here.

"The last few years have shown that my body cannot handle the strains and stresses that come with being an all-rounder, playing all three formats for up to 10 months a year." Oram said New Zealand does not play as many Test matches as one-dayers and Twenty20s which is why he has chosen to continue in the shorter versions of the game.

"For the sake of longevity I have had to make a decision that will decrease my workload," he said. "The decision to choose limited-overs cricket over Test cricket has a lot to do with playing opportunities. The Blackcaps play a lot more limited overs cricket than Tests, and there's also the opportunity to continue playing in world events such as the World Cup, World T20 and Champions Trophy, as well as the Indian Premier League," he explained.

Oram said spending more time with his family was also a factor as he prepares to become a father for the first time. "The opportunity to spend more time at home with my family including my first child, due next month, is also a major reason for deciding to pull back on playing commitments and time away from home," he said.

"I have attempted to delay any decision about my future career path for some time now. However in light of my latest injury at the Champions Trophy it has became clear to me that now is the time to sacrifice something to try and stay in the game longer," he added. Oram said he would now focus on preparing himself for the 2011 World Cup.

"I am hoping this decision extends my career. I do not want to put an exact time frame on that, as I have learnt that sometimes my body and my mind are on different wavelengths," he said. "The ICC World Cup in 2011 is a major focus for me and I am highly motivated to be fit and firing for that. Ultimately, I would like to go for a couple of seasons after that, but as I said I am loath to put a fixed date on it," he added.

The imposing all-rounder said he is happy with what he has achieved in Test cricket. "I have really enjoyed my Test career and I leave that format with many fond memories. I would be lying if I said I had no regrets, however these feelings were not powerful enough to make me reconsider this decision," he said.

New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive Justin Vaughan said NZC understood Oram's decision but admitted that the player would be missed. "Jacob has made a tremendous contribution to our Test team over the past seven seasons, and his experience will be missed. "But we fully understand the difficulties he's faced with injuries – and we hope this decision will help him prolong his playing career with the Blackcaps," he said.

Vaughan said Oram would continue being a contracted player. Although his ranking has been recalculated following the decision to retire from Tests, he remains one of the 20 contracted players. Oram has played 33 Tests since his debut in December 2002, scoring 1780 runs at an average of 36.32. His record includes five centuries and six half-centuries, with a high score of 133 against South Africa at Centurion in April 2006.

With the ball, Oram has taken 60 Test wickets at an average of 33.05. His best Test bowling of 4 for 41 came against India at Hamilton in 2002.  For a period in 2008 he was in the top five ICC rankings for Test all-rounders.

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