New Zealand in England 2013 May 11, 2013

'McCullum's a born leader' - Southee

ESPNcricinfo staff

Tim Southee has praised the leadership of Brendon McCullum, who took over the New Zealand captaincy late last year after the fallout between Ross Taylor and coach Mike Hesson.

After a nightmare start to 2013 in South Africa, the team's fortunes have steadily improved, most recently in March when they came within one wicket of a series win over England. One of the visible features of McCullum's short captaincy has been his attacking mindset in the field.

In a wide-ranging interview with Alison Mitchell for ESPNcricinfo's Tea Break, Southee said McCullum's attitude gave New Zealand the best chance to win.

"He's a born leader," Southee said of McCullum. "He's a thinker of the game. He's a proactive captain. He's willing to chance his arm to try and get his side ahead, and that's not always going to work, but he's willing to try something to get ahead in the game. He's got a great cricket brain and [is] just a natural leader, so he's got that respect in the changing room amongst most guys."

McCullum's latest challenge is to lead the side in the return series in England, where New Zealand will play two Tests and three ODIs. After New Zealand's performances at home there is a belief that they can push No. 2-ranked England close again. Southee said it is important that impressive performances, like the ones they produced earlier this year, are not exceptions if the team is to move up the rankings.

"If we do well over here in their conditions it will show that what we did in New Zealand wasn't just a one-off, and hopefully we can start to gain a bit more respect in Test cricket. Over the last couple of years we haven't been where we want to be and if we do well over here I guess it will be a step in the right direction for us as a Test nation."

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  • paul on May 11, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    Hell Gagg you are so right....with all the hype around that last test draw , even I was thinking it was a I have said before.....under another captain , I felt we would have won that test...batted to long...maybe he got clouded with a hundred in sight...not bowling the off spinner to Broad straight away was a glearing blunder in anyones mind...but hey ,at least we can now look forward to another interesting series where the mistakes from the past can be forgotton, and hopefully show the promise that Hesson, McCullum and now Southee say we have...will that be good enough to win?

  • crik on May 11, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    Very funny. MacClown can't even score when the team needed... here is the list... Sehwag, Dilshan, Afridi, Watson, Pollard, McCullum etc.... now you see the treand... yes- they all surface on batting friendly wickets when bowlers have bad days and get back to their dens after one off performance... does any of them perform consistently? for a very good reason he is warming up the KKR bench

  • Garry on May 11, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    hettypie "How many other tests" we haven't won any tests since he has been at number 6 either.

  • paul on May 11, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    cricketlover do some DD re KKR....yes I hope he does continue to give us impetus at #6....shame is it has taken several years to sink in that he wasnt an opener and by wanting to stay there ,the balance of the team (and he always thinks of the team) was totally wrong....How many other tests could we have won during those times?

  • Garry on May 11, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    So Southee was one of the so called senior players that were conspiring against Taylor.

  • jared on May 11, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    Well of coarse southee is brown noseing McCullum, he wants the vice captaincy. One thing we do know, both vettori and taylor are great players but terrible captains, just not inventive enough and when you have limited resorces you need something a bit different and try even unusual tactics to manafacture a wicket out of nowhere, at least McCullum gives us that. Problem with McCullum is he can let his emotions get in the way of making good decisions, so while he is a better option than the last two, its too early to say he's a great leader, a couple of series wins abroad and i'll be convinced

  • Steve on May 11, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    McCullum's attitude in the field, always trying to make things happen, will continue to pay dividends for NZ. Add to that the impetus he adds batting at no.6 I think he could become one of the great NZ captains.

    Bit confused about the KKR comment, Gambhir is the captain, McCullum was never in charge.

  • paul on May 11, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    Didnt last long as capt of KKR!!!

  • John on May 11, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    I've been very impressed with McCullum's captaincy, apart from his inexplicable delay in declaring in the third test in NZ, which might have cost NZ the match. He does seem to be always busy in the field, trying to get something happening. If there's one area where Cook needs to improve, it's that; Cook tends to follow the 'grind them down' philosophy, which is fine as long as you're on top, but has to be changed if the other side has gained the upper hand.

    I'm looking forward to a very interesting series.

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