Todd Astle, the New Zealand wrist-spinner, who recently quit first-class cricket to focus on the shorter versions, has conceded his "heart wasn’t fully in" the red-ball format.
Astle, 33, never clinched a long-term spot in New Zealand’s Test side, featuring in just five matches across eight years, the last of which came against Australia in the New Year's Test in Sydney. He announced his retirement last month, and said he'd “focus all his energy” on the white-ball formats.
Despite a short Test career, Astle built strong first-class credentials at Canterbury, racking up 119 appearances since his debut in 2005. He started off as a batsman, featuring in the middle order, before turning into a leg-spinner. He ended with 334 scalps, including 13 five-wicket hauls.
Todd Astle in first-class cricket— ICC (@ICC) January 28, 2020
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"For me, I've played five tests over a seven-eight year period, but I've played 119 first-class games overall, so that's a heck of a lot of cricket over a 10-year period,” Astle was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz. "I'd have loved to have played more, but I'm really stoked to have achieved what I have in the red-ball format."
In his debut season, Astle shared the Canterbury dressing room with the current national coach Gary Stead. Since Stead's appointment in 2018, Astle ensured the coach was kept in the loop regarding his future plans.
"It was a case of, if my heart isn't fully in it, then I didn't think I was doing myself or others justice if I was to continue on," said Astle. "That's where I had to be really clear with my communication with Steady [Gary Stead] and make sure things were lined up."
With renewed focus on white-ball cricket, Astle aims to play a key role in New Zealand’s quest for their maiden ICC Men’s T20 World Cup title, in the lead up to its seventh edition in October this year.
"In T20 every ball is an event, so you're trying to really get a read on what batsmen are trying to do," he said. "With leg-spin, you have the unpredictability of variations and my wrong'un has been effective. It's just trying to change the angle and pace and all those types of things."
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