New Zealand in England 2013 May 2, 2013

McCullum, Taylor leave IPL early

ESPNcricinfo staff

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and his predecessor Ross Taylor have been released early by their IPL franchises and will join the tour of England ahead of schedule.

Neither player has had much involvement in the IPL with McCullum playing one match for Kolkata Knight Riders, after recovering from the hamstring injury he picked up in the final Test against England in Auckland, and although Ross Taylor has appeared five times for Pune Warriors he has made just 63 runs at a strike-rate under 100.

McCullum is due to arrive in England on Friday so could yet be available for the opening tour match against Derbyshire, which starts on Saturday, while Taylor is expected over the weekend. Both players were previously set to arrive shortly before the match against England Lions at Grace Road next week. Kane Williamson was due to the lead the team in McCullum's absence.

New Zealand players have an agreed five-week window where they can appear at the IPL and when Mike Hesson, the coach, was asked about missing two senior players for the start of the trip he even sought to see it in a positive way. "I'm actually quite happy with it because with a squad of 15 it's quite hard to get everyone a game," he said.

It has become a feature of the May Test series in England, which clashes with the IPL, that senior players from the visiting team have arrived late. It has previously happened with Sri Lanka and West Indies, leaving them precious little time to adjust to the conditions.

McCullum, who took over the captaincy from Taylor late last year, had a productive series against England in March, but Taylor struggled for fluency on his return after opting out of the South Africa tour following the loss of the leadership. During a radio interview after the visit of England he said that he was still not entirely comfortable back in the set-up.