New Zealand news May 17, 2010

McCullum undecided on wicketkeeping future

Cricinfo staff

Brendon McCullum has said he will take a decision on his playing role with the New Zealand team over the next few months, as he looks to preserve himself for all three formats of the game. McCullum, one of the country's best-ever wicketkeepers, gave up the gloves during the recent ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies and played as a specialist batsman.

McCullum first contemplated giving up keeping in limited-overs games back in March, deciding to focus on being a top-order batsman. New Zealand are currently in the USA for two Twenty20s against Sri Lanka and their next major tour is in August when they play a tri-series in Sri Lanka, also involving India. He will skip that tournament to be with his wife for the birth of their child and also get some rest ahead of future tours.

"There are a couple of issues in terms of my body, and my back in particular. I don't want to miss out on playing any games for New Zealand and I have to work out the best way to have longevity in the game," McCullum told Radio Sport. "That's something to be decided over the next week in terms of what's right for the balance of the team and what's right for my career.

"There are three months coming up when I will look at making a decision along with the relevant people at New Zealand Cricket and the selectors."

McCullum has been a destructive opener in limited-overs games. In the last two years, he has scored two centuries and five fifties in one-dayers but his returns in T20s are relatively better, with one century and six fifties. New Zealand's top order has struggled for consistency, and McCullum intends to focus on adding more stability to it.

"The way I see it is that we have a glaringly obvious issue at the top of the order and it would be great to make an impact and try to rectify that," he said. "If it was to be the case that I wasn't able to play as a wicketkeeper, it would mean I could spend the required time on my batting.

"I know it'd be a challenge. I'm not saying I'd be instantly successful at it but I do enjoy a challenge. I'd be hopeful of being successful."

He also stressed that his commitment to New Zealand is still very strong. "I know my motives are sound, my desire is sound. I have played six years for New Zealand cricket without missing a game now and in terms (of being self serving) I think that's a little off the mark."

In McCullum's absence, New Zealand have tried out Peter McGlashan, Reece Young and Gareth Hopkins, who kept during the World Twenty20.