Cricket: Test career over for bitter Border: Australia's prolific captain retires

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ALLAN BORDER, the captain of Australia and Test cricket's most prolific batsman, yesterday retired from the international stage. After 16 years and a record 156 Tests, the 38-year-old Border ended months of speculation about his future, but typically his departure was not without a combative edge.

Border left with a swipe at the Australian Cricket Board over the handling of his announcement. On Tuesday, the Australian selectors delayed naming the 15-man squad to tour Pakistan in September, suggesting Border's indecision had prompted their action.

'I am disappointed by some of the comments,' Border said. 'They (the ACB) are saying that I am gumming up the works yet they knew full well that my decision was being made at a press conference. I am very angry.'

His response was to bring forward his farewell by 24 hours. 'It was a tough decision for me,' he said. 'It is like part of me died. Making this decision to retire was a painstaking process. It is done with a heavy heart and it has taken me a lot of weeks to come to this decision. I am basically fed up with all the innuendo and speculation and I am telling you officially I am going to retire from international cricket.'

Sir Donald Bradman, Australia's most revered batsman, said in tribute: 'Few people, if any, have graced the stage for as long as Allan and he can look back with pride.'

The batsman David Boon said: 'I can fully understand the trauma he has gone through in reaching his decision.'

Jamaica's Steve Bucknor will be the first independent umpire in a Test in England. He has been put in charge of next month's opening Test against New Zealand at Trent Bridge and will also stand in the second Test at Lord's.

Border appreciation, page 42