McCullum's deal exposes New Zealand's poor schedule
Matthew Hayden has said Brendon McCullum's move to play Twenty20 for New South Wales highlights New Zealand's "disappointing" international schedule. McCullum has been picked up by the Blues for Saturday's final in the hope he will be available for the rich Champions League tournament in India in October.
"It is reflective of how disappointing the international program has been for New Zealand more than anything," Hayden said in the Australian. "It's a real indictment on their cricket that you can have one of the elite players in world cricket not being able to play the volume of cricket with the earning capacity that most international athletes can expect.
"It's pretty tough. I feel very sympathetic towards a country like New Zealand, which has some wonderful cricketers but they don't get enough international opportunities. What's the ICC doing?"
Australia's one-day representatives have been ruled out of the final, leaving Victoria without David Hussey and their captain Cameron White, who didn't play in the three-wicket loss to South Africa on Friday. New South Wales will be missing David Warner, Brad Haddin, Nathan Bracken and Nathan Hauritz. It was Warner's absence that convinced New South Wales to push for McCullum's signature.
McCullum said on Friday it would be an "honour" and "a thrill" to represent New South Wales. "As a New Zealander, any chance to get to come and play in an Australian competition is held in huge regard," he said. "I'm sure all of the [New Zealand] guys would love to have an opportunity to play in this competition and if they do I'm sure they'll have the excitement I've got leading into this game as well."
Hayden wondered what was going to happen to the international programme with the rise of the new format. "A combination of country and franchises would seem to be appropriate given you don't want to lose the importance of Test status," he said. "I don't think that's a problem in Australia, but you go to the West Indies and they have 350 people at a day's play sometimes. You go to India this season and at some grounds they have to bus in school kids for a crowd. It goes to show the sort of value people are putting on Test cricket."