New Zealand in India 2012 August 20, 2012

McCullum to open in India Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff
26

Brendon McCullum will return to the top of the order for New Zealand's Tests against India, set to open with Martin Guptill after playing at first drop during the past two series. Daniel Flynn, BJ Watling and Rob Nicol were all given a chance to partner Guptill during New Zealand's past two series, against South Africa and West Indies, but that won't be the case this time around.

"Martin Guptill and Brendon will open the innings," the New Zealand captain Ross Taylor told reporters in India after the squad touched down ahead of the first Test, starting in Hyderabad on Thursday. "Brendon batted well here on previous occasions and, hopefully, he will continue in the same vein in the upcoming Tests."

McCullum's highest Test score, 225, came on New Zealand's most recent Test tour of India, during the Hyderabad Test of 2010-11. McCullum and his team-mates don't have long to acclimatise to the conditions ahead of the first Test, but Taylor said the players were familiar enough with India that he was confident they could adjust quickly.

"We would certainly like to put some good plans in place and be positive about the way we look to play. India is a familiar place for a lot of us," he said. "We have played well here and are looking forward to the contest."

New Zealand are coming off a demoralising tour of the West Indies in which they lost the Tests and limited-overs legs comprehensively. They also lost 1-0 last time they visited India for Tests, but their bowlers at times left the Indian batting in positions of trouble, and their batting clicked, the highlights being McCullum's double-century and a debut hundred by Kane Williamson.

Harbhajan Singh rescued India from dicey positions in the series, scoring two centuries and a fifty. Taylor said the side would nevertheless take heart from that tour.

"We hadn't had bad memories the last time we played here. Brendon got 225. We had our opportunities but Harbhajan batted well and took the game away from us. However, it is a different time of the year, and hopefully, we will continue to play well."

Daniel Vettori, with 14 wickets, was the highest wicket-taker in the series. Taylor said his spinners would be keen to take advantage of the conditions. "They have a few spinners in their side and we don't play lot of spinners back home," he said. "It will be a good challenge and we are looking forward to put India under pressure."

He said India played well at home and his side would have to take that into account. "India is always tough in their home conditions. Whether they play north or down south they play very well. We should be careful about the reverse swing and the spinners. We have to learn quickly through the series."

The two-Test series will be followed by two T20Is in September as a prelude to the World T20.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CandidIndian on August 22, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    Jesse Ryder has done well against India in the past,he would have been very useful for NZ as an opener.Most likely possibility is that pitches will be turning wickets but still NZ can upset India as they are without VVS and Dravid, so its their best chance to win in India this time.

  • MattyP1979 on August 22, 2012, 1:58 GMT

    NZ always seemed to play with alot of pride. All they need is a few results to go their way and for confidence to pick up. Ind are a rebuilding side, should be a compelling series. I hope NZ can get a couple of draws out of these tests. Good test for Ind bowlers to who always seem to be under some kind of pressure.

  • plow on August 21, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    I like playin rains team but would ideally get Jesse Ryder back. I sincerely hope they play Franklin, he can bat for days..... With Franklin there NZ will be able to score more than 400 regularly, that at least gives us a chance.

  • on August 21, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Finally....... New Zealand make a great choice!!!!!!!!

  • on August 21, 2012, 1:18 GMT

    India is rebulding too...so it could be close

  • mikriket on August 20, 2012, 21:34 GMT

    This tour will be a catastrophe for NZ. McCallum can't open and should the wicketkeeper at no 7 -he's just far too inconsistant. If Taylor doesn't start making consistanctly bigger scores, then his place should be in jeopardy. As the man said its very hard to be positive abt NZ, especially their batting.

  • on August 20, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    Poor strategy by an under-confident team management. McCullum as a test opener may work only in 1 out of 4 times. They need a right handed batsman at top who could leave Zaheer khan's deliveries - scoring should be strictly optional. Let McCullum come in at 1 down. That should allow him to score some runs while the ball is still hard but the shine is gone - under these conditions, he will have a much better chance to maximize his contributions to the bottom line.

  • on August 20, 2012, 17:30 GMT

    A 2 Test series? What's the point?

  • CoolCharlie on August 20, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    m interested in d series jss becoz to see how does this new Indian batting lineup fares. and talking about kiwis i thynk absence of ryder is a blow for them. but dont wrry kiwis. we have an awsum balling lineup. u will njoy playing them. wont b surprised if there are sum good batting performance from kiwi batsmen. coz indian balling rocks! indian ballers are very consistent. they will consistently give you balls which can be flicked oe smashed.. whatever. guys.. its a batsmen sereis.

  • on August 20, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    I feel Brendon McCullum will not click this time around... Anyways best of luck to him... Considering whole New Zealand team, they are a mismatch for India in Indian conditions... Useless test series...

  • CandidIndian on August 22, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    Jesse Ryder has done well against India in the past,he would have been very useful for NZ as an opener.Most likely possibility is that pitches will be turning wickets but still NZ can upset India as they are without VVS and Dravid, so its their best chance to win in India this time.

  • MattyP1979 on August 22, 2012, 1:58 GMT

    NZ always seemed to play with alot of pride. All they need is a few results to go their way and for confidence to pick up. Ind are a rebuilding side, should be a compelling series. I hope NZ can get a couple of draws out of these tests. Good test for Ind bowlers to who always seem to be under some kind of pressure.

  • plow on August 21, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    I like playin rains team but would ideally get Jesse Ryder back. I sincerely hope they play Franklin, he can bat for days..... With Franklin there NZ will be able to score more than 400 regularly, that at least gives us a chance.

  • on August 21, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Finally....... New Zealand make a great choice!!!!!!!!

  • on August 21, 2012, 1:18 GMT

    India is rebulding too...so it could be close

  • mikriket on August 20, 2012, 21:34 GMT

    This tour will be a catastrophe for NZ. McCallum can't open and should the wicketkeeper at no 7 -he's just far too inconsistant. If Taylor doesn't start making consistanctly bigger scores, then his place should be in jeopardy. As the man said its very hard to be positive abt NZ, especially their batting.

  • on August 20, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    Poor strategy by an under-confident team management. McCullum as a test opener may work only in 1 out of 4 times. They need a right handed batsman at top who could leave Zaheer khan's deliveries - scoring should be strictly optional. Let McCullum come in at 1 down. That should allow him to score some runs while the ball is still hard but the shine is gone - under these conditions, he will have a much better chance to maximize his contributions to the bottom line.

  • on August 20, 2012, 17:30 GMT

    A 2 Test series? What's the point?

  • CoolCharlie on August 20, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    m interested in d series jss becoz to see how does this new Indian batting lineup fares. and talking about kiwis i thynk absence of ryder is a blow for them. but dont wrry kiwis. we have an awsum balling lineup. u will njoy playing them. wont b surprised if there are sum good batting performance from kiwi batsmen. coz indian balling rocks! indian ballers are very consistent. they will consistently give you balls which can be flicked oe smashed.. whatever. guys.. its a batsmen sereis.

  • on August 20, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    I feel Brendon McCullum will not click this time around... Anyways best of luck to him... Considering whole New Zealand team, they are a mismatch for India in Indian conditions... Useless test series...

  • HawK89 on August 20, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    No way NZ can win a test match with bowlers that can't bowl the indian team out twice. Might as well use the T20 squad and practice for the upcoming World T20 in similar conditions. Things im going to watch for is, kohli's 100 and ashwins 5, maybe chris martins double figures with the bat too.

  • tanstell87 on August 20, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    Kiwis can challenge India...they seriously can challenge any of top 8 test team in test cricket...for that to happen they have to bring back Jesse Ryder,Grant Elliot...even for that matter Neil Broom...he looked promising back in 2009 when India toured NZ...the problem is their batting...Ross Taylor-Guptill & Brendon McCullum should score runs big runs...New Zealand should first learn & stretch games to 5 days...it doesn't matter if they end up playing out draws...sooner or later they will start winning again...for this to happen they have to first start doing well at home....my test XI - B McCullum-Guptill-Taylor-Ryder-Elliot-Williamson-Watling(wk)-Vettori-Bracewell-Southee-Milne(with Vettori out why not play 4 fast bowlers with Williamson & Guptill bowling part time spin)

  • playinrain on August 20, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    I liked Flynn opening, left hand right hand combo is needed to give that chance of breaking up bowlers lines, and I'd drop Baz to 5 so he can play his natural game.My line up would be..Guppy,Flynn,Williamson,Taylor,Baz,Franklin,BJ, Wagner/Bracewell,Boult,Southee,Patel....Frankiln in as a solid lh bat no Martin so we can actually bat 11 batters....I'd really like to see Wanger get his seam sorted before I could rate him a threat with the ball, but he shows true grit and I love that!

  • jajokhan2 on August 20, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    we Indian lions (outside country are jackal) waiting for NZ.

  • stickywicketnick on August 20, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    Why does everyone want Van Wyk in the side? He has had 9 chances to score some runs and is yet to score a 50. Watling is our best option and a keeper batsmen for now. Considering we can't have Ryder the line up should be; 1.McCullum 2.Guptill 3. Williamson 4.Taylor 5.Flynn 6.Franklin 7.Watling 8.Bracewell 9.Wagner 10.Nethula 11.Boult

  • StoneRose on August 20, 2012, 8:34 GMT

    1. Why are NZ back in India so soon? (e.g. NZ were last in England in 2008). 2. A "2-test series" should not count as a series - 3 tests minimum.

  • ashlatchem on August 20, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    FINALLY! I know he is overrated but he has to open we have no one else and this lets Flynn go down to where he scored all the runs that got him in this squad... and he likes India... and for me Patel has to play before Nethula.... I thought they were both useless but Patel is killing it in England (46 wkts, at 22 S/R 46) That's some pretty good figures for a spinner in 1st division county cricket! Phenomenal for a kiwi lol!

  • ajayrcs on August 20, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    Whole kiwi team are more interested in playing IPL or SPL or Big Bash or county so this series is for India to give them confidence to win.

  • on August 20, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    Patchmaster, McCullum averages 36 for his career and 41 since he moved up the order and ditched the gloves. Good numbers for a kiwi. He's only going to improve on those numbers.

  • venkatesh018 on August 20, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    Agree with u asadc2003. B Mac is one of the most over-rated player in the international circuit.

  • venkatesh018 on August 20, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    My XI will be: Guptill, Mccullum, Flynn, Taylor, Williamson, Kruger van Wyk, Bracewell, Boult, Wagner, Patel and Chris Martin( Watling, Nathula,Franklin, Southee to sit out). NZ be bold and go with 5 bowlers. You will need them against India in these tracks.

  • beejaytee on August 20, 2012, 7:03 GMT

    Baz to open? Finally! And now Taylor to first drop, please.11 for the first Test: Baz, Guptill, Taylor, Franklin, Williamson, Watling, Van Wyk, Bracewell, Wagner, Southee, Boult. Why pick Nethula &/or Patel when the Indian batsmen are facing better spinners in the nets? Better to get a few overs of spin out of Kane & MG, and go with five medium pacers. Medium pacers is what NZ have, so let's make some lemonade, by The Ghost of Competitive Kiwi Cricket! Forget "plans" and "balance", just pick the best side available and see how that goes for a while.

  • SASANK360 on August 20, 2012, 6:14 GMT

    It is good that B'mac is taking new responsibilities for his team's cause. But he needs to hone his skill and change his temparament to suit the opener's role. Opening in ODIs or T20s is different from the same in Tests as the ball moves quite a long time in Tests. He must improve his skill of playing spin. Especially in India he will get demoralised once spinners get into rythm and attack him. Although Indian spinners aren't that threatening as they used to be, B'Mac should be carefull. Anyways good luck Brendon.

  • Patchmaster on August 20, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    If the selectors rate Williamson so highly (which they seem to do) why don't they ask him to open ? McCullum averages about 31 in Test cricket, most so called 'minnows' have opening batsmen with a higher average. Willamson seems to be on a very very long ticket, and has yet to do much. I'd rather them stick with Nicol, he always scores a few runs, and he'll break through soon.

  • asadc2003 on August 20, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    the most over rated player ............

  • on August 20, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    So McCullum, Guptil, Williamson, Taylor, Flynn, Franklin, Watling or Van Wyk, Bracewell, Nethula, Wagner, Boult. We really need our top 6 to score runs on this tour and confirm their credentials as NZ's top batsmen. We no longer have a middle to lower order capable of pulling us out of the crap. Time for our 'talented' top order to deliver on their 'potential'!

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  • on August 20, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    So McCullum, Guptil, Williamson, Taylor, Flynn, Franklin, Watling or Van Wyk, Bracewell, Nethula, Wagner, Boult. We really need our top 6 to score runs on this tour and confirm their credentials as NZ's top batsmen. We no longer have a middle to lower order capable of pulling us out of the crap. Time for our 'talented' top order to deliver on their 'potential'!

  • asadc2003 on August 20, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    the most over rated player ............

  • Patchmaster on August 20, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    If the selectors rate Williamson so highly (which they seem to do) why don't they ask him to open ? McCullum averages about 31 in Test cricket, most so called 'minnows' have opening batsmen with a higher average. Willamson seems to be on a very very long ticket, and has yet to do much. I'd rather them stick with Nicol, he always scores a few runs, and he'll break through soon.

  • SASANK360 on August 20, 2012, 6:14 GMT

    It is good that B'mac is taking new responsibilities for his team's cause. But he needs to hone his skill and change his temparament to suit the opener's role. Opening in ODIs or T20s is different from the same in Tests as the ball moves quite a long time in Tests. He must improve his skill of playing spin. Especially in India he will get demoralised once spinners get into rythm and attack him. Although Indian spinners aren't that threatening as they used to be, B'Mac should be carefull. Anyways good luck Brendon.

  • beejaytee on August 20, 2012, 7:03 GMT

    Baz to open? Finally! And now Taylor to first drop, please.11 for the first Test: Baz, Guptill, Taylor, Franklin, Williamson, Watling, Van Wyk, Bracewell, Wagner, Southee, Boult. Why pick Nethula &/or Patel when the Indian batsmen are facing better spinners in the nets? Better to get a few overs of spin out of Kane & MG, and go with five medium pacers. Medium pacers is what NZ have, so let's make some lemonade, by The Ghost of Competitive Kiwi Cricket! Forget "plans" and "balance", just pick the best side available and see how that goes for a while.

  • venkatesh018 on August 20, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    My XI will be: Guptill, Mccullum, Flynn, Taylor, Williamson, Kruger van Wyk, Bracewell, Boult, Wagner, Patel and Chris Martin( Watling, Nathula,Franklin, Southee to sit out). NZ be bold and go with 5 bowlers. You will need them against India in these tracks.

  • venkatesh018 on August 20, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    Agree with u asadc2003. B Mac is one of the most over-rated player in the international circuit.

  • on August 20, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    Patchmaster, McCullum averages 36 for his career and 41 since he moved up the order and ditched the gloves. Good numbers for a kiwi. He's only going to improve on those numbers.

  • ajayrcs on August 20, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    Whole kiwi team are more interested in playing IPL or SPL or Big Bash or county so this series is for India to give them confidence to win.

  • ashlatchem on August 20, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    FINALLY! I know he is overrated but he has to open we have no one else and this lets Flynn go down to where he scored all the runs that got him in this squad... and he likes India... and for me Patel has to play before Nethula.... I thought they were both useless but Patel is killing it in England (46 wkts, at 22 S/R 46) That's some pretty good figures for a spinner in 1st division county cricket! Phenomenal for a kiwi lol!