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Michael Papps finishes up after two decades of scoring runs

by Wisden Staff 15 minute read

Michael Papps has decided to call time on his career after around two decades of first-class cricket, which included eight Test matches and six ODIs for New Zealand.

Papps, 38, started playing first-class cricket for Canterbury in the 1998/99 season and amassed 12,294 runs by the end of it in 188 appearances, having moved to Wellington later in his career. This included 33 centuries and 52 half-centuries, the runs scored at an average of 38.66.

Along the way, he became the first batsman to cross the 10,000-run mark in the Plunket Shield, New Zealand’s premier domestic competition. His highest first-class score of 316* came in October 2017 for Wellington against Auckland as he topped the scoring chart for the 2017-18 season with 814 runs in ten appearances.

Papps scored his Test-best 86 at Headingley in 2004

Papps scored his Test-best 86 at Headingley in 2004

“As they say, you know when the time is right, and I am walking away knowing that I have given the game everything I have,” said Papps while announcing his decision.

“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 was called up to the ODI team in 2004 when South Africa were touring New Zealand, and made his Test debut in the same series.

Papps' ODI career ended with a bump on the head courtesy a Brett Lee bouncer

Papps’ ODI career ended with a bump on the head courtesy a Brett Lee bouncer

He had a good run in the ODIs, scoring 67, 29 and 92 not out in the last three games of the six-match series as New Zealand won 5-1, but went on to play just one more ODI, an unmemorable outing.

In that game, against Australia in February 2005, Papps was targeted with short balls by Brett Lee, and had to retire hurt after being struck in the helmet grille. When the helmet came off, a large lump was visible, forcing him to walk off. Overall, he scored 207 runs in the six games at an average of 51.75.

His Test numbers were less impressive even though he started out with an innings of 59 against Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini and others in Hamilton and later scored 86 – his best – at Headingley in June 2004. He tallied 246 runs at an average of 16.40 with those two half-centuries.

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