West Indies in New Zealand 2013-14 December 16, 2013

End of McCullum as a keeper

16

Brendon McCullum's days as an international wicketkeeper appear over after the New Zealand coach Mike Hesson conceded he was too valuable as a captain and batsman to risk behind the stumps with a long-standing back problem.

Barring one stand-in appearance at Headingley when BJ Watling was injured, McCullum has not kept in Tests since 2010 but had been keen to continue with the role in white-ball cricket after resuming the job in Bangladesh following a break earlier this year in England.

However, being forced home from Bangladesh when the protruding discs in his spine caused him severe pain, and prompted a bout of soul-searching about his future, appears to have helped him make a final decision.

"We're unlikely to use him as a keeper," Hesson said. "He's too valuable a player for us to consider using him as a keeper."

There is rarely a day where McCullum isn't in some discomfort from his back and Hesson added that he may not be able to play every match during the season. "We'd only rest him if his back was at a point where he couldn't play. That could well occur. He's made some good progress. He's always a bit stiff but it doesn't seem to affect his movement too much."

The end of McCullum as wicketkeeper means that Luke Ronchi, who made his New Zealand debut in the one-day series against England earlier this year before playing in the Champions Trophy, is set for a second chance to establish himself in the 50-over side.

Ronchi's initial stint in the team during the England tour saw him struggle as an opener, making 47 runs in six innings, and he was left out of the squad for the Bangladesh series until being summoned as cover, firstly due to Kane Williamson's broken thumb and then the keeping slot opened up again.

He returned to the side in a middle-order role, which he admitted was more comfortable for him, and improved his output with scores of 49 and 23 in the one-day series against Sri Lanka and an unbeaten 34 in the Twenty20.

Ronchi is not the only option for the gloves in the one-day team, which will be named on Thursday in Hamilton. Watling's Test form makes a strong case while Tom Latham, who toured England, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, is another in the frame.

However, Latham's route to a regular spot is hindered by a log-jam at the top of the order. He opened with Anton Devcich in the series against Sri Lanka, where New Zealand fielded an experimental line-up, and made 86 off 68 balls in the second ODI.

But Martin Guptill has recovered from injury and shown form in domestic cricket while the selectors are also keen to get Jesse Ryder back into the international fold ahead of the India series in January. Hamish Rutherford appears to have drifted down the pecking order for ODIs.

Earlier this year Guptill hit back-to-back hundreds against England, including a New Zealand record 189 not out in Southampton but missed the Bangladesh tour due to an ankle injury.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dowdenpatr on December 21, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    The real solution is clear as day in front of their eyes its just that McCullum and Hesson are too stubborn to go back on their word because they would look like idiots. MCCULLUM SHOULD QUIT TESTS! Firstly because his form does not warrant selction as a batter especially with Ryder, Guptill, Flynn all piling on the runs and Anderson looking like a test bowler. Second because he could still keep in ODIs and Twenty20s which last up to 3hours for one innings at most and third his captaincy has not made any difference to the side whatsoever. It is time for Williamson to take over! Too young? What about Mr Graeme Smith hmm? I used to love McCullum but I think it is time for him to quit tests it is only his ego which is clouding his decision too.

  • SamWintson92 on December 17, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    Brendon McCullum is a great batsman & it's the best decision that he won't keep wickets from now on.

    Preferred Keeper in ODIs: Luke Ronchi Back up keeper: Tom Latham, BJ Watling

    a) Luke Ronchi has to be the recommended keeper. It was indeed a joke to make him open where he struggled. But he showed his striking power & that he can clear the fences batting in the middle order. In this case, Guptill & Ryder will open. b) Tom Latham has got potential. His 86 against SL in SL was an innings full of class. BJ Watling can also come into consideration after his strong test form & he averages 39+ in List A. But if any of Latham or Watling is in the XI, then he has to be slotted in the opening with Guptill & Ryder needs to bat in the middle order.

    My Squad: 1 Guptill 2 Ryder 3 Williamson 4 R Taylor 5 B McCullum (C) 6 Ronchi (WK) 7 C Anderson 8 Neesham 9 Vettori 10 Southee 11 McClenaghan. 12 N McCullum 13 Latham/Watling 14 Munro 15 Mills.

    More reserves: Boult, Butler, Rutherford, Nicol

  • Ms.Cricket on December 17, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    Mike Hesson, have you heard of Dhoni who does this day in and day out without the whinging that McCullum and DeVilliers display?

  • regofpicton on December 17, 2013, 0:13 GMT

    I suppose Hesson has to say that. And to be fair he's silly enough that might even believe it. But what a load of . . . (sorry - family show)! As a New Zealand batsman McCullum is merely an average member of a group of fairly moderate players who's figures are at the moment being flattered by probably the weakest attack the Windies have ever fielded. And as a captain? Can't set a field, can't organise his bowlers, can't judge a review, can't take advice, can't LEAD.

    The current party line seems to be that McCullum is handicapped by a career threatening chronic back injury, and these things can go completely wrong very quickly. So it would be worrying indeed if we really were dependent on his runs and his leadership. Fortunately, of course, it simply isn't true. Just remember: New Zealand's three best efforts on the recent tour to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and our only two wins, happened AFTER McCULLUM HAD LEFT!

  • wingman42 on December 16, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    At Kiwi Cricket Nut: I think that Neesham is a great find, he's got the potential to be in a much superior class of all rounders than few of the ones we've recently sported( Franklin/Ellis, etc.) If we can fit him in the XI along with Corey, that side is really balanced and looks damn scary. Only issue is you have to leave out a quality seamer in Mills/Boult/Mclenaghan, and the bowling lacks a bit of fire power. I think Neesham's more than a slogger. it was a pleasure watching him patiently try to recover the Blackcaps against SRILANKA in the final ODI. We were in tatters at 40/5, he batted with a level headed approach and adjusted to conditions superbly to put us in a position to sneak a series win until bad light came and we lost on D/L. Hes gotta improve a bowling a bit but Im very impressive with him overall

  • Snowbadger15 on December 16, 2013, 22:01 GMT

    Latham is unfortunate because he is an opener and that is where Ryder and guptil will bat so it will be hard for him to take their spots. Ronchi is definitely the guy to replace baz as keeper as he is our best glovemen and will be a great finisher alongside Anderson and Neesham. Latham can take the gloves in the future but he is not a finisher like ronchi and would be better at the top but there is no place for him.

  • BnH1985Fan on December 16, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    @Abbas67 -- Agreed, Dhoni and Sanga have done better performing dual duties as WK / key Batsman, and they indeed average more as batsmen. But that is a role Brendon cannot perform given his back problems. Brendon's honesty means someone fitter can do a better job behind the stumps, and let Brendon focus on important roles of captain and an attacking batsman. But your point is a good one -- were Brendon to perform behind the stumps well enough the team could benefit from including a better bat than Luke.

  • Abbas67 on December 16, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    What is so good in Mccullum ? He is just below average batsman in test & odi, he is good in T20 but not that much that he should leave his keeping. Best example is Dhoni & Sangakkara !

  • Kiwiheart on December 16, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    This is good it means McCullum needs to score runs and runs. My XI Guptill, Ryder, Williamson, Taylor B McCullum, Anderson, Bronchi/Latham, N McCullum, Southee, Mills, Mclenaghan

  • kiwicricketnut on December 16, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    i wouldn't use ronchi, i think lathams batting would be more valuable in odi's even if his keeping isn't as sharp, mind you i've seen ronchi make a few mistakes as well, isn't ronchi older than mccullum? he's not the future, latham is and if watling gets injured we have cover developing latham but it works both ways if latham gets injured watling fills in. wingman42 has a pretty good xi but i think you have to fit neesham in there, he's been a fantastic find with the ball and can chip in with some heavy hitting at the death. my odi xi. 1. ryder, 2. guptill, 3. williamson, 4. taylor, 5. anderson, 6. mccullum, 7. latham, 8. neesham, 9. vettori, 10. southee, 11. mclenaghan, 12th mills, of coarse if mccullum could keep mills would fit into the xi and in my opinion would be a perfectly balanced side, not to be sadly.

  • dowdenpatr on December 21, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    The real solution is clear as day in front of their eyes its just that McCullum and Hesson are too stubborn to go back on their word because they would look like idiots. MCCULLUM SHOULD QUIT TESTS! Firstly because his form does not warrant selction as a batter especially with Ryder, Guptill, Flynn all piling on the runs and Anderson looking like a test bowler. Second because he could still keep in ODIs and Twenty20s which last up to 3hours for one innings at most and third his captaincy has not made any difference to the side whatsoever. It is time for Williamson to take over! Too young? What about Mr Graeme Smith hmm? I used to love McCullum but I think it is time for him to quit tests it is only his ego which is clouding his decision too.

  • SamWintson92 on December 17, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    Brendon McCullum is a great batsman & it's the best decision that he won't keep wickets from now on.

    Preferred Keeper in ODIs: Luke Ronchi Back up keeper: Tom Latham, BJ Watling

    a) Luke Ronchi has to be the recommended keeper. It was indeed a joke to make him open where he struggled. But he showed his striking power & that he can clear the fences batting in the middle order. In this case, Guptill & Ryder will open. b) Tom Latham has got potential. His 86 against SL in SL was an innings full of class. BJ Watling can also come into consideration after his strong test form & he averages 39+ in List A. But if any of Latham or Watling is in the XI, then he has to be slotted in the opening with Guptill & Ryder needs to bat in the middle order.

    My Squad: 1 Guptill 2 Ryder 3 Williamson 4 R Taylor 5 B McCullum (C) 6 Ronchi (WK) 7 C Anderson 8 Neesham 9 Vettori 10 Southee 11 McClenaghan. 12 N McCullum 13 Latham/Watling 14 Munro 15 Mills.

    More reserves: Boult, Butler, Rutherford, Nicol

  • Ms.Cricket on December 17, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    Mike Hesson, have you heard of Dhoni who does this day in and day out without the whinging that McCullum and DeVilliers display?

  • regofpicton on December 17, 2013, 0:13 GMT

    I suppose Hesson has to say that. And to be fair he's silly enough that might even believe it. But what a load of . . . (sorry - family show)! As a New Zealand batsman McCullum is merely an average member of a group of fairly moderate players who's figures are at the moment being flattered by probably the weakest attack the Windies have ever fielded. And as a captain? Can't set a field, can't organise his bowlers, can't judge a review, can't take advice, can't LEAD.

    The current party line seems to be that McCullum is handicapped by a career threatening chronic back injury, and these things can go completely wrong very quickly. So it would be worrying indeed if we really were dependent on his runs and his leadership. Fortunately, of course, it simply isn't true. Just remember: New Zealand's three best efforts on the recent tour to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and our only two wins, happened AFTER McCULLUM HAD LEFT!

  • wingman42 on December 16, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    At Kiwi Cricket Nut: I think that Neesham is a great find, he's got the potential to be in a much superior class of all rounders than few of the ones we've recently sported( Franklin/Ellis, etc.) If we can fit him in the XI along with Corey, that side is really balanced and looks damn scary. Only issue is you have to leave out a quality seamer in Mills/Boult/Mclenaghan, and the bowling lacks a bit of fire power. I think Neesham's more than a slogger. it was a pleasure watching him patiently try to recover the Blackcaps against SRILANKA in the final ODI. We were in tatters at 40/5, he batted with a level headed approach and adjusted to conditions superbly to put us in a position to sneak a series win until bad light came and we lost on D/L. Hes gotta improve a bowling a bit but Im very impressive with him overall

  • Snowbadger15 on December 16, 2013, 22:01 GMT

    Latham is unfortunate because he is an opener and that is where Ryder and guptil will bat so it will be hard for him to take their spots. Ronchi is definitely the guy to replace baz as keeper as he is our best glovemen and will be a great finisher alongside Anderson and Neesham. Latham can take the gloves in the future but he is not a finisher like ronchi and would be better at the top but there is no place for him.

  • BnH1985Fan on December 16, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    @Abbas67 -- Agreed, Dhoni and Sanga have done better performing dual duties as WK / key Batsman, and they indeed average more as batsmen. But that is a role Brendon cannot perform given his back problems. Brendon's honesty means someone fitter can do a better job behind the stumps, and let Brendon focus on important roles of captain and an attacking batsman. But your point is a good one -- were Brendon to perform behind the stumps well enough the team could benefit from including a better bat than Luke.

  • Abbas67 on December 16, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    What is so good in Mccullum ? He is just below average batsman in test & odi, he is good in T20 but not that much that he should leave his keeping. Best example is Dhoni & Sangakkara !

  • Kiwiheart on December 16, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    This is good it means McCullum needs to score runs and runs. My XI Guptill, Ryder, Williamson, Taylor B McCullum, Anderson, Bronchi/Latham, N McCullum, Southee, Mills, Mclenaghan

  • kiwicricketnut on December 16, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    i wouldn't use ronchi, i think lathams batting would be more valuable in odi's even if his keeping isn't as sharp, mind you i've seen ronchi make a few mistakes as well, isn't ronchi older than mccullum? he's not the future, latham is and if watling gets injured we have cover developing latham but it works both ways if latham gets injured watling fills in. wingman42 has a pretty good xi but i think you have to fit neesham in there, he's been a fantastic find with the ball and can chip in with some heavy hitting at the death. my odi xi. 1. ryder, 2. guptill, 3. williamson, 4. taylor, 5. anderson, 6. mccullum, 7. latham, 8. neesham, 9. vettori, 10. southee, 11. mclenaghan, 12th mills, of coarse if mccullum could keep mills would fit into the xi and in my opinion would be a perfectly balanced side, not to be sadly.

  • pt_pt on December 16, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    Latham is currently the better option to wk and ronchi as the back up . Would pick on Thursday Guptil and Ryder also, so would like to see the squad to be: latham, guptil, williamson, taylor, ryder, mcCullum b, neesham, mcCullum n, southee, mills, mclenaghan, anderson , milne and ronchii.

  • drfarnsworth on December 16, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    kensohatter - Ronchi was born in NZ and moved to Australia when he was young. He only played a few games for Australia and I think the 4 year wait is a good rule for people like him. It is annoying that so many players playing for England were not born there (for example of "country swapping"), but I think Ronchi's situation is a legitimate one and NZ cricket is better off with him in the set up.

  • kensohatter on December 16, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    Good call by NZ. McCullum is a solid bat however I cant agree with the selection of Ronchi on the basis that he is not a kiwi. He has played for Australia therefore stating his loyalties. This swapping countries purely based on opportunity must stop. I reckon if you have ancestory which allows selection for multiple countries you must select one once you reach state level. For this reason I respect Andrew Symonds immensly who was offered to play for a then weak English side but turned it down on the then very long odds chance he would crack into a very strong australian batting line up. Ended up playing 26 tests for the country he grew up loving and scored 2 centuries. Im sure hes immensly proud of that journey. Ill also bet if you ask him now if he would take 100 tests for england or his 26 for australia he would proudly tell you test matches played for a country other than your own count for nothing.

  • jimbond on December 16, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    In his current form, Brendon should not be risked in front of the wicket as well. The ideal position for him is some sort of team manager. Currently Watling should be good enough for tests, is a better batsman as well.

  • drfarnsworth on December 16, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    Ronchi is better suited to the longest form of the game (look at his record) but it's hard to slot him in somewhere at the moment, even as a batsman only. Still, he has the strike power to hit boundaries in the last 10-15 overs of an ODI and that experiment to open was a joke and hopefully hasn't dented his confidence, nor the selectors.

  • wingman42 on December 16, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    Well I think either Ronchi and Watling are both capable batsman with contrasting styles of approach to batting and one or the other should cement his spot ahead of the world cup so its good they've made the decision now. The balance of the side is slightly compromised because it would prevent an extra allrounder in the 11 but I think its a good move looking forward in the grand scheme of things. I also want to say i know some people will react to this by saying Baz should be dropped but I think hes hes batting and captaincy is invaluable and irreplaceable.

    This is my ideal ODI playing XI given everyones fit and available: 1. Guptill 2. Ryder 3.Kane 4. Ross 5. Baz 6. Corey Anderson 7.Ronchi/Watling 8.Dan Vettori 9. Southee 10.Mills 11. Boult/Mclenaghan

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  • wingman42 on December 16, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    Well I think either Ronchi and Watling are both capable batsman with contrasting styles of approach to batting and one or the other should cement his spot ahead of the world cup so its good they've made the decision now. The balance of the side is slightly compromised because it would prevent an extra allrounder in the 11 but I think its a good move looking forward in the grand scheme of things. I also want to say i know some people will react to this by saying Baz should be dropped but I think hes hes batting and captaincy is invaluable and irreplaceable.

    This is my ideal ODI playing XI given everyones fit and available: 1. Guptill 2. Ryder 3.Kane 4. Ross 5. Baz 6. Corey Anderson 7.Ronchi/Watling 8.Dan Vettori 9. Southee 10.Mills 11. Boult/Mclenaghan

  • drfarnsworth on December 16, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    Ronchi is better suited to the longest form of the game (look at his record) but it's hard to slot him in somewhere at the moment, even as a batsman only. Still, he has the strike power to hit boundaries in the last 10-15 overs of an ODI and that experiment to open was a joke and hopefully hasn't dented his confidence, nor the selectors.

  • jimbond on December 16, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    In his current form, Brendon should not be risked in front of the wicket as well. The ideal position for him is some sort of team manager. Currently Watling should be good enough for tests, is a better batsman as well.

  • kensohatter on December 16, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    Good call by NZ. McCullum is a solid bat however I cant agree with the selection of Ronchi on the basis that he is not a kiwi. He has played for Australia therefore stating his loyalties. This swapping countries purely based on opportunity must stop. I reckon if you have ancestory which allows selection for multiple countries you must select one once you reach state level. For this reason I respect Andrew Symonds immensly who was offered to play for a then weak English side but turned it down on the then very long odds chance he would crack into a very strong australian batting line up. Ended up playing 26 tests for the country he grew up loving and scored 2 centuries. Im sure hes immensly proud of that journey. Ill also bet if you ask him now if he would take 100 tests for england or his 26 for australia he would proudly tell you test matches played for a country other than your own count for nothing.

  • drfarnsworth on December 16, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    kensohatter - Ronchi was born in NZ and moved to Australia when he was young. He only played a few games for Australia and I think the 4 year wait is a good rule for people like him. It is annoying that so many players playing for England were not born there (for example of "country swapping"), but I think Ronchi's situation is a legitimate one and NZ cricket is better off with him in the set up.

  • pt_pt on December 16, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    Latham is currently the better option to wk and ronchi as the back up . Would pick on Thursday Guptil and Ryder also, so would like to see the squad to be: latham, guptil, williamson, taylor, ryder, mcCullum b, neesham, mcCullum n, southee, mills, mclenaghan, anderson , milne and ronchii.

  • kiwicricketnut on December 16, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    i wouldn't use ronchi, i think lathams batting would be more valuable in odi's even if his keeping isn't as sharp, mind you i've seen ronchi make a few mistakes as well, isn't ronchi older than mccullum? he's not the future, latham is and if watling gets injured we have cover developing latham but it works both ways if latham gets injured watling fills in. wingman42 has a pretty good xi but i think you have to fit neesham in there, he's been a fantastic find with the ball and can chip in with some heavy hitting at the death. my odi xi. 1. ryder, 2. guptill, 3. williamson, 4. taylor, 5. anderson, 6. mccullum, 7. latham, 8. neesham, 9. vettori, 10. southee, 11. mclenaghan, 12th mills, of coarse if mccullum could keep mills would fit into the xi and in my opinion would be a perfectly balanced side, not to be sadly.

  • Kiwiheart on December 16, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    This is good it means McCullum needs to score runs and runs. My XI Guptill, Ryder, Williamson, Taylor B McCullum, Anderson, Bronchi/Latham, N McCullum, Southee, Mills, Mclenaghan

  • Abbas67 on December 16, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    What is so good in Mccullum ? He is just below average batsman in test & odi, he is good in T20 but not that much that he should leave his keeping. Best example is Dhoni & Sangakkara !

  • BnH1985Fan on December 16, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    @Abbas67 -- Agreed, Dhoni and Sanga have done better performing dual duties as WK / key Batsman, and they indeed average more as batsmen. But that is a role Brendon cannot perform given his back problems. Brendon's honesty means someone fitter can do a better job behind the stumps, and let Brendon focus on important roles of captain and an attacking batsman. But your point is a good one -- were Brendon to perform behind the stumps well enough the team could benefit from including a better bat than Luke.