Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum has confirmed he is retiring from the international game.
McCullum, who has played 99 successive Tests for New Zealand announced in Christchurch this afternoon that he will retire from international cricket at the end of the two test series against Australia in February.
McCullum said he would have preferred to wait until after his final game in Christchurch before making the announcement but the upcoming naming of the Black Caps squad for the World Twenty 20 competition forced his hand.
"I've loved my opportunity to play for, and captain the Black Caps but all good things have to come to an end, and I'm just grateful for the wonderful experience of playing for my country," he said.
Kane Williamson will take over the captaincy for the Twenty20 world cup in India in March.
McCullum, who made his debut in 2004, became the first New Zealander to score a Test triple century when he made 302 against India last year.
McCullum said the perjury trial of former team-mate Chris Cairns played no part in his decision to retire from international cricket.
In October, the 34-year-old testified that Cairns tried to involve him in match-fixing but Cairns was subsequently found not guilty of perjury.
McCullum said he would walk away from the Black Caps knowing he left the side in better shape than when he arrived over 10 years ago, with the team now fifth on the Test rankings and fourth in the ODI rankings.
"Definitely the best team that I've been involved in. We've got some outstanding players, we've obviously got some freakish players as well," said McCullum.
"The results and that are great and that's what you get judged on but also I think the development and the emergence of the people within the group and the culture within the group is one of the things that probably most proud of."
It was no real surprise the veteran was choosing to step aside, McCullum's former Black Caps team-mate Jacob Oram said.
"He's a lightning rod for good and bad critique, he's the centre of a lot of criticism and I think it's wrong.
"I think he's a very misunderstood character, he's an extremely tough guy and I think he's given a lot to this country over the last 15 years and we should be happy and proud that we got him."
Oram said regardless of the recent Cairns' trial, McCullum's retirement was inevitable.
"Going straight from a courtroom in London to the test field in Brisbane is something that I don't know if anyone would want to go through so I think the guy's character is immensely strong."
Speculation over McCullum's future had been rife, and last week, in a video interview with RNZ, he said things were "winding down a little bit":
Fans took to social media today to lament the news.
Has Brendon McCullum CONFIRMED he's going to retire? Can we beg him not to? Like, how many fruit baskets would it take to change his mind?— Kate Montgom (@KateMontgom) December 21, 2015
I'll always be glad I was at the Basin for Brendon McCullum's 302. What a fantastic player he's been for the @BLACKCAPS— Simon Bradwell (@simonbradwellnz) December 21, 2015
McCullum holds New Zealand's highest Test score, with his 302 against India.
Before the Australia series, the Black Caps have five one-day internationals against Sri Lanka and two Twenty20 games.
They also have three Twenty20 and three ODIs against Pakistan, followed by three ODIs against Australia before the Test series.
McCullum was expected to keep playing in various global Twenty20 competitions, including the lucrative IPL in India.