Wellington - Former New Zealand Test batsman Martin Crowe has abandoned his bid to return to first class cricket at the age of 49 after suffering the latest of a series of injuries.
Crowe emailed New Zealand media at 04:00 Sunday morning local time to say his comeback was over.
His return to premier club cricket in Auckland lasted only three balls on Saturday before he was forced to retire with a thigh injury.
Crowe told reporters "I said from the start it would end in tears with an injury. While getting off the mark yesterday I pulled a thigh muscle running a normal single into the covers. So three balls into my first premier match back, it's over."
Crowe was forced into retirement by injuries in 1995 after playing 77 Tests and 143 one-day internationals for New Zealand. His total of 5 444 test runs was a national record until it was surpassed by Stephen Fleming but his 17 centuries are still the most scored by a New Zealander in Tests.
In announcing his comeback earlier this year, Crowe said he was looking for a new challenge and to score the 392 runs he needs to reach 20 000 runs in first class cricket. He said in his email that four injuries in four months had forced him to abandon the attempt.
"I pulled a hip flexor in July, a hamstring in August, a groin in October and now a thigh, all upper left leg, all compensating for a dodgy arthritic right knee," he said.
"No tears, but frustrated after a lot of hard work getting ready.
"It was sort of fun along the way. I got to hit lots of balls over five months, experiencing the joy of batting again. But as soon as it required the important running bit, the old problems kicked in.