MCC news January 19, 2016

McCullum to deliver MCC Spirit of Cricket address

ESPNcricinfo staff

Brendon McCullum will retire from international cricket next month © Getty Images

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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shane on January 20, 2016, 10:53 GMT

    Inevitable comments on here making straw man arguments. There's no better candidate, well done Baz, you're fully deserving of an honour like this!.

  • john on January 20, 2016, 8:29 GMT

    I guess more cricketers will wait 3 years to come forward now..why not?,who doesn't like the red carpet treatment. . And do the MCC no how he got the captaincy? Hardly in the spirit of cricket.

  • Marla on January 20, 2016, 7:04 GMT

    I'm a NZ cricket fan, and sure McCullum is a great player -- but the "Spirit of Cricket"? Given what we learned during the recent Cairns trial and McC's rather dubious, or at least questionable role, in those events, I think this is not the best choice. I mean, even putting the best spin on what happened he waited quite a long time to come forward. And look at the other names who've given this address previously -- people beyond reproach. Just my opinion!

  • Jay on January 20, 2016, 4:33 GMT

    Basil thinks Bmac hasn't done much? He turned around a bad NZ team and made them into a reasonably good one. He scored a triple century, 2 doubles and a 190 in one calendar year. Established NZ's longest unbeaten streak in tests as captain and will play in his 100th consecutive test for his country next month. And a pretty nice guy to boot.

    He also leads almost every batting category in international T20 cricket, and while that may not be the purest form, it's the money form of the game. He's been ranked in the official t20 rankings in the top 5 for 7 years with numerous times as the number 1. A lot of people pay money to be entertained, and Bmac is one of the most entertaining cricketers ever.

    Sure, he's not Imran, Kallis, Bradman, Sachin, Warne or one of the other all-time greats and no one will claim he is one of them. But he's a solid player, one of the best ever at t20, a very good captain and a great ambassador for the game.

  • Rahul on January 20, 2016, 3:18 GMT

    Great honor for a breath-taking cricketer. Go BMac!

  •   Basil B'borgnay on January 19, 2016, 21:34 GMT

    In the entirety of all world history, has there been a comparable case of such effusive praise being heaped upon a bloke for doing so very little?

  • Jason on January 19, 2016, 17:33 GMT

    What a great honour for McCullum. I'm sure it will be an interesting speech.

  • Jonathan on January 19, 2016, 17:02 GMT

    Excellent choice! Presumably it'll be Chris Gayle next year?

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