New Zealand v India, 5th ODI, Wellington January 30, 2014

Nathan McCullum aces economy test


Nathan McCullum: "Four-nil will be fantastic"

R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja haven't bowled badly this series, but Nathan McCullum has a slightly better economy-rate than both after four games against much better players of spin. He has to be doing something right.

"They (the Indians) are very different obviously. They like to attack spin bowling," Nathan said "They play against it every day of the week at home and on some tough surfaces as well. It's been a great challenge playing against India in my own backyard and on wickets that don't really turn a lot and with short boundaries as well. It's been a hell of a challenge but I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to tomorrow as well."

While McCullum has picked up just one wicket, the Indians haven't been able to get after him. The most he has gone for has been 54 runs, from 10 overs in Napier. In the fourth ODI in Hamilton where there was help for the spinners, McCullum was taken for just 44 from his full quota. He has preferred bowling from round the stumps throughout the series as he believed the fielding restrictions had made it difficult to change the angle often.

"From my point of view, the way the rules have changed, there is hardly time to bowl both sides of the wicket when there are only four men out. You have to be aggressive but also have to protect you boundaries and not just take wickets. You have to be more consistent and you can't take too many risks with what line you are bowling and you have to pick which side you going to bowl at with only four men out. You can't keep switching sides."

McCullum felt it was also tougher now for bowlers to switch between attacking and holding back, and that one needed to be consistent with the role that had been assigned.

"Again going back to the rule changes in ODIs these days, you have to have an even flow about when you are going to be aggressive and when you are going to be defensive as a bowler, not just as a spin bowler, as a quick bowler as well," he said. "So that becomes part of it when your role is aggressive or defensive, and understanding what your role is at particular times to (be able to) take up those roles"

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Reg on January 31, 2014, 3:16 GMT

    Nathan has been very effective in the series (and not for the first time) with an overall economy rate of 4.9. You would have to think he would be an important element in our World Cup planning. But I would like to see Vettori added to the NZ squads. In the current Big Bash he's been by far the best bowler for the Heat, and one of the best in the competition, with an economy rate of 6.25. With his experience, leadership and batting improvisations he would be a great asset in the World T20 coming up (especially on the slow tracks in Bangladesh) and, I have no doubt, later in the World Cup.

    We have been doing well against the Windies and India, but we should not fool ourselves. Both those teams turned up with pop-gun attacks. The two World tournaments coming up are going to be much harder going . . .

  • Mark on January 30, 2014, 20:04 GMT

    Shane Bond, how fantastic to hear your perspective. A true kiwi legend during your international career and now a legend mentoring this excellent young bowling attack to some fine performances. Mucho respect sir, doin us proud.

    I do agree with kiwicricketnut tho, if Dan were available he would be the last piece of the jigsaw that makes this NZ team truly world class for the first time since early 2000s. Big IF tho, and Nath is doin a fine job.

  • Dummy4 on January 30, 2014, 18:56 GMT

    @scarrule thats a reallly good point, after emphatically winning against the top ranked ODI side McCullum and Taylor didnt start jumping around like maniacs to celebrate, unlike Virat Kohli and India who did a lap of honor against Pakistan after winning the 3rd ODI although they already lost the series

  • Android on January 30, 2014, 18:20 GMT

    @22many What the hell man? Every single wrong doing in NZ cricket is due to Hesson and Mccullum? Mccullum for all his career has bowled either in 1-10 or 20-35 overs.

  • jared on January 30, 2014, 17:57 GMT

    everyone is making pretty valid points here and it probably is too close to both world cups to tinker too much with spin options, i will make one other spin bowling comment though and that is sohdi is a very classy spinner, i don't think i have ever seen a bowler like him in the country and he can hit a ball as well so you wouldn't lose to much with the hitting at the death and there are alot of hitters in that lower order to take up the slack, granted you lose alot of mobility in the field and he might go for one or two more an over but if he takes more wickets i would take that, i watched a t20 the other night where he made brendon diamanti look like a boy with the bat, he was all over him, thats when i thought we need that in our odi team, probably a bit risky this close to the world cups but options are out there.

  • paul on January 30, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    @P are very astute...yes I did notice the same soon as a wicket fell, on comes brother for a couple of overs...

  • Dummy4 on January 30, 2014, 17:02 GMT

    Actually the author missed one point..Brendon Mccullum's captaincy and fast bowlers's efficacy. Nathan has come into bowling only when fast bowlers have mad inroads and india has been in a rebuilding phase of their innings. Unlike him, ashwin and jadeja had to bowl batsmen who were well settled and scoring at run a ball. The biggest difference in this series is the performance of top order and new ball bowlers of both teams

  • Dharma on January 30, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut - even i agree with most of ur points but in limited overs cricket, containment is also important along with taking wickets. For eg: take India in 4th ODI, even though lost only 5 wickets by the end, Ind lost. it is due to the containment for the good part of first 20-25 overs (and also due to bad bowling by Ind). It is no good if you score 300 for only loss of 2 wickets and still lose. containment sometimes takes more priority than wickets. if a bowler applies pressure by not conceding many runs, then batsmen try to attack other bowlers due to the pressure of scoring and lose their wickets. But in Tests, ofcourse, wicket taking ability takes priority and McNath is anyway not part of Test plans for NZ.

  • Owen on January 30, 2014, 13:29 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut - I'd say NZ's wicket taking options are, and historically have been, up front with bowlers like Southee and McClenaghan. Sure every team would like to have someone like Ajmal or Swann, who are capable of drying up runs and taking wickets when they need to, but they aren't easy to come by. If you had a choice between a wicket-taker or an economical spinner in ODI cricket, you would go with the economical one especially with the kiwi seam attack.

  • Dummy4 on January 30, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    Yes, Gurdit. Ashwin should talk less & learn more, during his overseas tours. Hopefully, he may be able to perform the bowlers part of his role better, durig the next World cup to be played in NZ & Oz.

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