Michael Papps, the veteran New Zealand opener, has announced his retirement from first class cricket, on Thursday (April 19). The 38-year-old opener, who made his first class debut way back in March 1999 for Canterbury against Northern Districts, composed 12294 runs at an average of 38.66 in first class cricket.
In October 2016, when the wicketkeeper-batsman scored a fine hand of 57 for Wellington versus Auckland, he became the first cricketer to compile over 10000 Plunket Shield runs. Papps also topped the batting charts during the 2017-18 Plunket Shield season, scoring 814 runs at an impressive average of over 50. During the course of the season, he cracked his highest individual first class score of 316 not out against Auckland. He was also appointed as Wellington's captain during the 2015-16 first class season. The seasoned opener ends his first class career with 33 hundreds and 239 dismissals.
Papps, who first came into the national reckoning when he averaged a healthy 57.87 in the State Shield in 2003-04, also played eight Tests and six ODIs for the country. Papps accumulated 207 runs at an average of 51.75 in ODI cricket. He aggregated his highest individual ODI score of 92 not out in his very first ODI series versus South Africa in Napier in 2004.
Papps's short ODI career also will be remembered for his battles versus Brett Lee in the Eden Park ODI in 2005. He eventually had to retire hurt after being hit on the head by a bouncer from Lee. He was later taken to hospital and recovered from the blow. Unfortunately for Papps, that turned out to be his final ODI. In Test cricket, he finished with 246 runs at an average of 16.4.
"The personal and collective triumphs, the runs scored, the days in the dirt, and the games won and lost are all memories I will take away, but most of all it will be the people, the teams I've played for, both here and overseas, and the great friends I have made that I will cherish the most," Papps said in a statement.
"I would like to thank the Canterbury Cricket Association for teaching me the game and giving me the best grounding a young cricketer could possibly receive, and to Cricket Wellington for enabling me to expand my horizons and providing me with a new challenge," he added.
Cricket Wellington chief executive Cam Mitchell said: "Michael has made an immense impact on this game and we are very proud to have had him as member of our team and representative of Wellington. He has captained the Firebirds, played match-winning and match-saving innings, and made history with that outstanding 300. I'm sure cricket fans around the country will join me in thanking him for the memorable moments he has been a part of through his career."