New Zealand in Bangladesh 2013-14 November 2, 2013

McCullum heads home with back trouble

ESPNcricinfo staff

Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, is returning home immediately after being ruled out of the final two matches of the Bangladesh tour with "significant" pain from a long-standing back problem.

McCullum had already been withdrawn from the forthcoming short tour to Sri Lanka, alongside Ross Taylor, so that he could play some domestic first-class cricket in preparation for the Test series against West Indies which starts on December 3.

Now fitness, as well as form, is a concern for McCullum who endured a lean time with the bat in Bangladesh. He made scores of 21, 22 and 11 in the Test series followed by 0 and 14 in the first two one-day internationals which New Zealand lost to concede the series to Bangladesh.

Following an MRI scan in Dhaka, Paul Close, the New Zealand physio, said: "Brendon's back needs careful management - it's flared up and is giving him significant pain. The best course of action is getting him home for rehabilitation as soon as possible."

Although McCullum's form has slipped in recent weeks, New Zealand can ill-afford to lose his services for the beginning of West Indies' visit as Kane Williamson, the vice-captain, is a serious doubt for the opening Test in Dunedin, and possibly the second in Wellington, having suffered a fractured thumb in Bangladesh.

Problems with his back was one of the major reasons behind McCullum giving up the wicketkeeping gloves in Tests, a move he also tried to make in ODIs but Luke Ronchi's struggles in England, during the series earlier earlier this year and the Champions Trophy, meant McCullum took back the role for this one-day series.

Ronchi has now arrived in Bangladesh having been recalled following Williamson's injury but the gloves may go to Tom Latham as New Zealand aim to avoid a whitewash. BJ Watling is settled as New Zealand's Test wicketkeeper.

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