Brendon McCullum: The cool aggressor, New Zealand’s gift to cricket
Brendon McCullum led New Zealand to their first World Cup final last year. Although the title dreams were thwarted by Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Kiwis taming their rivals at their stronghold, Auckland’s Eden Park, got the entire country behind the team.cricket Updated: Feb 08, 2016 17:28 IST
New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, who went into limited-overs retirement on Monday with the Hamilton One-day victory over Australia, was a perfect example of fire and ice.
All humility and self-effacing humour off the pitch, he transformed into a rampaging warrior with the bat. Two of those punishing knocks had an Indian connect.
Congratulations Brendon McCullum on an outstanding ODI career. A brilliant entertainer and a quality bloke!— Aaron Finch (@AaronFinch5) February 8, 2016
In 2008, McCullum got the Indian Premier League off to an electrifying start with a match-winning 158 for Kolkata Knight Riders in the first match of the tournament. Six years on, he became the first New Zealand batsman – and the only one to date --- to score a Test triple, his 302 in the second innings pulling the hosts from the brink at Basin Reserve, Wellington, forcing a draw and a series win over India.
A passionate follower of horse racing, ‘Baz’, as he is affectionately called, made news before that Wellington Test for becoming an owner of a horse. He then showed he is a man for calculated risks, playing the eighth longest Test innings in terms of time spent at the crease (772 minutes).
In Hamilton on Monday, his 27-ball 47 inspired his team to victory over the traditional rivals at Hamilton. Plagued by a back injury, the 34-year-old will end his international career with the two-Test series which follows.
The first game in Wellington will mark his 100th while the final Test will be played in Christchurch, his home ground.
For all his power-packed shots, he will be remembered as a Kiwi skipper who also showed a lot of finesse after Ross Taylor was controversially dumped as skipper --- he was seen as not being too communicative with team mates and coach Mike Hesson played a role in his replacement --- in 2012.
With the distressed Taylor taking time off the game amid concerns one of New Zealand’s best batsmen would call it quits, McCullum reached out to make sure his predecessor felt he was an integral part of the side.
Last year, he led New Zealand to their first World Cup final, but the title dreams were thwarted by Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Kiwis’ latest victory over their rivals at their stronghold, Auckland’s Eden Park, however, have got the entire country behind the team.
However, the final phase of his New Zealand career has seen controversy after he deposed against Chris Cairns in the perjury trial last year, telling a London court that the retired all-rounder had come to him with a “business proposition” on match-fixing. Cairns was acquitted. Cairns later questioned why McCullum had deposed against him in the perjury trial and not when he first sued ex-IPL boss Lalit Modi for his tweets alleging fixing.
With McCullum missing the World T20 in India, Kane Williamson will lead the Black Caps in the tournament.
Here’s a select few of the many incredible shots McCullum has hit over the years:
First Published: Feb 08, 2016 17:23 IST