The Duke rides off into a T20 sunset | cricket.com.au

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The Duke rides off into a T20 sunset

John Hastings to focus on shortest format after putting his body through the wringer for Australia in a decorated career

Former Australia fast bowler John Hastings says calling it quits on the two longer formats of the game is a "massive weight" off his shoulders, conceding a series of painful injuries have taken a heavy toll on both him and those closest to him.

After a decade-long first-class career that yielded a single Test in 2012, an emotional Hastings told Victoria's JLT One-Day Cup squad in Sydney on Thursday that he'd decided to bow out from four-day and 50-over formats to focus on T20 cricket.

Having battled ankle, shoulder, knee and back injuries in recent seasons and going under the knife more times than he can count, the 31-year-old decided the pain was no longer worth it.

"I wasn't enjoying my cricket a lot over the last 12 months," Hastings told cricket.com.au. "I was often thinking, 'Why?'

"I'd get up out of bed and it would take me half an hour to warm up. Everything would just ache.

"I was being grumpy around the house. (My wife) Brianna has been such an amazing supporter of mine over the journey and she didn't deserve that.

"I didn't like that side to it either. I feel like it's a massive weight off my shoulders."

Despite the numerous setbacks he's suffered in recent years, Hastings has returned from each with aplomb, carving out a successful international career for Australia in one-day cricket in particular.

Only two bowlers took more ODI wickets than Hastings in 2016 – neither of them fast bowlers – and his selection in Australia's Champions Trophy behind the 'Big Four' quicks earlier this year was a testament to how valuable he'd become in the format.

Duke decisive with career-best haul

The right-armer played just the one game in Australia's sodden campaign, in which two of their three matches were rained out, and Hastings concedes he felt the tournament would be his "last crack" with the national side.

In the months since the Champions Trophy, which saw an off-season stint with Worcestershire cut short when he was hobbled by an ankle injury, Hastings admits he increasingly thought of retiring.

The thought of dosing up on pain-killing drugs to get through a full day of cricket, as he's been forced to do for much of his career, held little appeal and a minor flare-up in his back last week was the final straw.

"I got to a point where I was relying heavily on anti-inflammatories and pain-killers to get through (playing)," Hastings said.

"It was just something that was weighing me down and weighing me down over the years.

''There comes a time where you have to think about your future and your welfare. I just knew it was time."

From a mental point of view, the right knee injury he suffered in a Sheffield Shield game in Hobart last December was the tipping point for Hastings in terms of contemplating retirement.

Hobbled Hastings forced from the field

"I had never really been the same since I did my knee just before Christmas last year in Tassie," Hastings said. "I really struggled with it trying to get it right.

"I wasn't liking the person I was being around the group and even at home as well. You're just down on yourself and you're in pain all the time. It's just not a nice place to be in.

"That was probably the hardest thing for me to come to terms with. I probably didn't have the will that I had in the earlier years to get back.

The growing injury list took its toll on Hastings // Getty
The growing injury list took its toll on Hastings // Getty

"Everything I tried just wasn't working."

From Sydney's west, Hastings – whose middle name Wayne has earned him the moniker of 'The Duke' – got his first break in cricket with New South Wales when he took up a rookie contract with the Blues.

But the talented junior rugby league player moved to Melbourne in his early 20s and made his first-class debut against the touring Indians in 2007 before helping Victoria to the 2009-10 Sheffield Shield title.

Hastings bowls on his first-class debut in 2007 // Getty
Hastings bowls on his first-class debut in 2007 // Getty

Having developed a reputation as a lion-hearted bowler and aggressive lower-order batsman, Hastings was handed a Baggy Green in 2012 with AB de Villiers becoming his first Test scalp when the prolific right-hander edged to slip.

While the Proteas legend is set to remain his one-and-only Test wicket, Hastings is at peace with how his international career unfolded and is ready to begin a new chapter of his career.

Hastings celebrates his Test wicket of de Villiers // Getty
Hastings celebrates his Test wicket of de Villiers // Getty

He's been named captain of the Melbourne Stars and expects to be fully fit for their forthcoming KFC Big Bash League campaign.

"I really want to try and make that into something pretty special," Hastings said of his appointment.

"I want to be fully fit. Then there's opportunities around the world in T20 leagues.

Hastings will captain the Melbourne Stars for BBL|07 // Getty
Hastings will captain the Melbourne Stars for BBL|07 // Getty

"That's where my focus will be, trying to get on that merry-go-round of T20 cricket and we'll see if I can play for another couple of years.

"It's fresh and exciting, whilst it's very sad to leave Cricket Victoria and the Bushrangers, it's an exciting opportunity to still stay in the game that you love so much.

"I still feel I have a lot to offer cricket."