Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum has committed to New Zealand Cricket for another year although he will sit out looming limited-overs tours in Africa.
World Cup star McCullum, 33, announced details on Friday of his short-term future following speculation he was on the verge of retiring.
He will lead New Zealand in home-and-away series against Australia this summer, where he is set to play his 100th consecutive Test since debut, and will be available for the World T20 in India in March.
However, following an intense recent workload, he won’t be available for the unconfirmed tour of Zimbabwe likely to start in late July, or the limited-overs series in South Africa in August.
McCullum’s announcement coincides with his signing of a three-season contract with the Brisbane Heat in Australia’s Big Bash League.
He was pleased to confirm his status ahead of the New Zealand contracting process, which will be completed next week, and is looking forward to helping the Black Caps further improve their standing in world cricket.
“It’s a critical time for the side,” he said.
“We’ve enjoyed a pretty good past 18 months, but there are some serious challenges ahead and we need to keep making progress.
“This is a young, emerging team with some very big series looming on the horizon and it’s really exciting to be involved.”
His place as captain for the African tours is likely to be taken by Kane Williamson.
McCullum, who was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, has led New Zealand to third in both the Test and ODI world rankings.
His leadership and blazing innings at the top of the order were key reasons for the Black Caps reaching the final of the World Cup in March.
He produced the highest Test score by a New Zealander 18 months ago with his 302 against India in Wellington.
Meanwhile, McCullum will return this summer to the Brisbane side, coached by retired New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori, having played there in the first Big Bash series.
“Apart from Brett Lee breaking my nose in the first-ever game, I enjoyed being part of the inaugural year,” he said.
McCullum will only play games for Brisbane that don’t clash with his Black Caps commitments.