December 28, 2015

McCullum the captain greater than McCullum the batsman

He has turned New Zealand into habitual winners, though his own batting in Tests has had big peaks and valleys

Brendon McCullum has been an outstanding contributor to New Zealand over the last several years, both as player and leader. The numbers show that while his batting has been a bit of a mixed bag - versatile and explosive, but also inconsistent - as captain he has inspired New Zealand to unprecedented success.

  • He is the only player to have batted in each of the top nine positions in both Tests and ODIs
  • He is one of only four batsmen to have scored 1000-plus Test runs as opener and the same number also from at least two other batting positions
  • Among batsmen with at least three double-centuries in Tests, his average is the lowest
  • Under his captaincy, New Zealand have had their highest win percentages in both Tests and ODIs over the last two years

Play 05:49

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • john on January 4, 2016, 3:38 GMT

    Ross Taylor was a better captain.. Mccullum was never a team man until he got handed the captaincy by his mate coach Mike Hesson..

  • Geoff on December 30, 2015, 17:08 GMT

    JIMBOND - McCullum will leave a far far greater legacy than Vettori as a skipper...and even Fleming (arguably)

  • Kevin on December 30, 2015, 5:10 GMT

    When looking at McCullum's stats we must remember that in his early career especially, that NZ was weak. At the bottom of test playing nations in all 3 formats of the game. Hence his numbers reflect this. Undue reliance was placed on the few genuine international class players such as himself, Taylor and Vetori. Later in his career with Taylor and himself as captain NZ cricket began to get it s act together, this stabilitywas reflected in results the performances of the class players such as McCullum.

  • Anupam on December 29, 2015, 16:30 GMT

    There is no doubt that McCullum has been one of the great captains in world cricket. With his aggressive approach to each match, Baz has created a unique culture via which NZ plays it's matches. How often do we see top 4 bowlers bowling out their overs in first 40 overs in ODI or batsman trying to hit everything out of the park from ball one. Ofcourse, the strategy needs to be backed up by your players but Baz has to be given a lot of credit for giving the self belief and confidence to his team to attack from the word go. As a batsman Baz has raised his level 2-3 years as an international test batsman and even in ODI's. Baz was a pretty average once in a blue moon test and ODI performer but last few years have been very productive. It would be great to see his average in both test and ODI's in the latter half of his career. I remember his test average was around 29- 30 few years back which has now moved upto 38ish now. In my mind Baz has certainly done enough to be regarded as a great.

  • Ian on December 29, 2015, 8:09 GMT

    Evaluating McCullum using batting average is pointless. He never played or his average.. Never ever...

  • Amjad on December 28, 2015, 22:50 GMT

    When Ross was the captain, NZ had a win in Australia (something McCullum couldn't do) and against a strong SL team in SL. Also under Ross, Boult and Williamson were fairly new.

  • Sree on December 28, 2015, 19:58 GMT

    And ofc.... the whole cricketing fraternity can see what he has been to New Zealand cricket....but some kiwi 'fans' will never acknowledge it. They just cannot give credit where it's due....ofc some self-proclaimed 'expert' writers add to the drama. It always amuses me he is held in high regard in the subcontinent or England for that matter than wid some fans from New Zealand. They just fail to see his value...but guess that's the case everywhere lol ;) What baz is to NZC is probably more like what Ganguly was to India. Enuff said :)

  • Sree on December 28, 2015, 19:48 GMT

    Absly....he has been refreshing for the rather indifferent NZC. Yes they have had talented individuals but they needed someone to galvanize and back them up. They play aggressive fair cricket but each one has the freedom to play their natural game. Together they have gelled well n the skippy has ensured they put their best feet forward. Baz along with the support staff have done a commendable job to instill the confidence into this young team and am sure they will carry it further.

  • Rob on December 28, 2015, 18:42 GMT

    An omission not to mention his time as the side's keeper. He averages well over 40 when not keeping, mid-30s when keeping. Most players' batting is affected by keeping - Stewart, Sangakkara both did way better when not keeping - so comparing McCullum to non-keepers isn't really fair. All his 200+ scores came when he was not keeping, with an average better than that of Chris Gayle.

  • dinesh on December 28, 2015, 13:56 GMT

    the numbers dont lie, mac deserves all the credit for how he has transformed an avg side to a match winning one, unarguably the 2nd best on basis of last 3yrs records, even if u see the team now there are only 3 to 4 world class players boult, kane, taylor and maybe southee barrin then its a team of avg players which mac has transformed in to a winnin one, the draw in uae without a good spinner was as good as it gets and a result of winnin mindset mac has installed into the side!

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