WELLINGTON (AFP) – Injury-plagued New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori announced on Friday he will be sidelined for at least six months but refused to call time on an international career stretching back 16 years.
Vettori said he had informed New Zealand Cricket he could not accept a Black Caps' contract for the upcoming season as he knew much of the year would be spent in rehabilitation after an ankle operation.
"I feel that with my present injury situation it would be wrong for me to take a retainer contract," he said.
"Given the time I'll need to spend out of the game with my recovery and the level of uncertainty about when I may play again, it doesn't feel right that I take up a retainer contract this year."
The 34-year-old said it would be at least six months before he knew whether he could make a return to full fitness and he would make a decision on his future then.
"I will now focus on my rehabilitation in the coming months, with the overall goal of making a return to the cricket field during the summer months -- hopefully it goes well," he said.
The left-armer is New Zealand's second-highest Test wicket taker with 360 scalps in 112 matches and has also contributed 4,516 runs to bolster the Black Caps' often fragile batting.
He has set himself the career goal of becoming only the second Test player after India's Kapil Dev to take 400 wickets and score 4,000 runs.
However, recent injuries have frustrated his ambition, keeping him out of Test cricket for the past 12 months.
He returned to limited overs action in last month's Champions Trophy in England, playing in all three group matches before the Black Caps bowed out.
The former New Zealand captain often looked in pain while fielding and he opted to undergo surgery on his left Achilles tendon in a bid to prolong his career.
New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White praised Vettori's integrity in turning down a contract.
"There's no doubting Dan's hunger to continue competing, and we hope to see him back playing for the Black Caps again when the time is right," he said.