McCullum to deliver MCC Spirit of Cricket address
Brendon McCullum, New Zealand's captain who is set to retire from international cricket next month, will give the annual MCC Spirit of Cricket lecture at Lord's in June.
McCullum has been widely praised for the way his side have played the game since he took charge at the start of 2013. An emphasis on team spirit, enjoyment and fairness coincided with one of the most successful periods in New Zealand's history and saw the team feted at home - where rugby usually dominates - and around the world during their run to the 2015 World Cup final.
The MCC Spirit of Cricket lecture was first delivered by Richie Benaud in 2001, with notable speakers including Desmond Tutu, Imran Khan, Kumar Sangakkara and Ian Botham. McCullum will become second New Zealander to deliver the address, after Martin Crowe in 2006.
The MCC has also announced that McCullum will join its World Cricket Committee - a think tank that examines issues affecting the game, from the development of pink balls to Olympic participation - from October.
"It was an honour to be asked to deliver the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey lecture - especially given the stature of some previous speakers - so I was very pleased to accept the invitation," McCullum said. "There are a number of important issues in world cricket at the moment that I am looking forward to addressing, and I hope it is an interesting evening for everyone watching. I'm also very pleased to be joining the World Cricket committee in October and being given the chance to discuss and have an impact on world cricket."
McCullum was handed the New Zealand captaincy in difficult circumstances, with his predecessor, Ross Taylor, unhappy at the way he was removed from the job. Taylor opted out of the subsequent tour of South Africa but, after two innings defeats - New Zealand were bowled out for 45 in Cape Town - McCullum quickly turned the team around, presiding over a two-year unbeaten run in Tests that was ended by Australia in December.
His attacking style of captaincy was epitomised by continuing to stack men in the slips during ODIs and New Zealand were many neutrals' favourites after reaching their first World Cup final - though they were heavily beaten by Australia at the MCG.
In 2014, McCullum became the first New Zealander to score a Test triple-hundred, against India in Wellington, and last month he drew level with Adam Gilchrist as the only batsmen to hit 100 sixes in Tests. McCullum will sign off his 14-year international career with three ODIs and two Tests against Australia in February.
MCC president Roger Knight said: "Brendon McCullum is one of the best cricketers of his generation and I'm sure will be a very engaging speaker, especially given his insight in to the modern game. He has embodied the play hard, play fair message of the MCC Spirit of Cricket throughout his playing career, especially in his captaincy, so is a perfect fit for this event.
"We are delighted that MCC's relationship with Brendon will continue after the lecture when he joins our World Cricket committee in October, and I've no doubt his experience will be a valuable asset to the group."
After the Spirit of Cricket lecture, which will take place on June 6, McCullum will join a panel of players for a question-and-answer session that will discuss topics arising from his speech and other issues affecting the game.