New Zealand news June 27, 2010

McCullum gives up keeping in Tests

Cricinfo staff

Brendon McCullum has announced that he will give up keeping wicket for New Zealand in Tests alone, in order to prolong his international career. McCullum had earlier toyed with the idea of hanging up the gloves in limited-overs cricket and playing as a specialist batsman, but realised the best way forward was to sacrifice his dual role in the game's longest format.

McCullum, who will continue to keep in one-dayers and Twenty20s, said he consulted experts before making his decision. "I have talked to a lot of people about how they went about extending their international careers, including some prominent former and current wicketkeepers," McCullum said. "I am passionate about playing for the Blackcaps (New Zealand) and by limiting my keeping to the shorter forms of the game it increases my chances of prolonging my career."

Geoff Allott, former fast bowler and now general manager of cricket in the New Zealand board, said it was a positive step for the long run.

"Brendon enjoys the challenge of Test cricket and has been a strong performer for New Zealand as a keeper over a significant period of time," Allott said. "While his glove work will be missed, we understand and support his decision to focus his attention on scoring runs at Test level, and his objective to play on the international cricket stage for as long as possible. It is great to know he will continue to keep wickets in limited-overs cricket.

"We need to work with players such as Brendon to ensure they stay fit and available for selection, with particular attention paid to those with heavy playing schedules."

Mark Greatbatch, the chairman of selectors, said the committee had no problems with McCullum's decision, and added that only his form as a batsman will be considered for future Test selections.

"Brendon has stated he wants to play cricket for New Zealand for as long as possible and that is really encouraging. I know he has had trouble with injuries that are related to keeping, and therefore understand his decision to stop keeping in Test cricket," Greatbatch said. "But Brendon clearly understands he will only be considered as a Test batsman on his long-form batting performances."

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 in all formats, and McCullum intended to focus on adding more stability to it. He too struggled to maintain his consistency in Tests as a batsman, but he remained New Zealand's first-choice wicketkeeper. With the latest development, Gareth Hopkins could fill the keeper's slot in Tests.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manasvi on June 30, 2010, 7:18 GMT

    If McCullum gives up the gloves it will be interesting to see the shape the batting order will take. Ryder, Taylor, McCullum, Vettori, wicket keeper, Guptill[?], Watling/McIntosh select themselves. And 3 more frontline bowlers along with Vettori are required. That leaves only one place open for the likes of Oram, Styris, Williamson, etc - all of whom are batting all-rounders. Is Kane Williamson too raw? I believe that he should be given as many opportunities as possible.

  • Makwena on June 28, 2010, 7:55 GMT

    Good decision Brad, NZC should play him as opener at test level BJ Watling bat at 6 an keep the wicket and vettori at 7. As for Sinclair i don't think he gotta what it take to be at Test match. Look at Kumar now is best bts/wk at odi level. Same as AB devilliers bet wk at odi and t20.Only attacking Dhoni and Adam Gil survived as wk/bts.

  • Nataraaj on June 28, 2010, 7:20 GMT

    we could see more & more cricketers give up test for ODI & T20 specially for sake of IPL money because now there will be 2 more new teams & new auction means more money. ICC should do something quickly to save "test matches" from IPL & T20.

    i feel the contracted A grade senior cricketors in all countries should not play in IPL. this will enhance their cricketing life for test/ odi. and also give opportunities to young ones to enter IPL

  • Josh on June 28, 2010, 6:22 GMT

    @Zain Haq. Bond has given up all forms of cricket, including IPL, so dont count him in with the rest for giving up half the game in order to make money from the T20 leagues. And O'Brien left to be with his family in England, not to pursue a greater pay cheque.

  • Dummy4 on June 28, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    Maximising his potential earnings and prolonging a career in this day and age is paramount for most players. You can hardly fault McCullum for giving up the gloves in one form of the game. He still has a lot to give, a quite brilliant and agile fieldsmen to go with one of the most destructive batsmen in international cricket. There is still a lot for him to contribute.

  • Gaurav on June 28, 2010, 5:04 GMT

    I think now he should open in test too..

  • Dummy4 on June 28, 2010, 4:17 GMT

    It's a shame to see an experienced cricketer giving up part of his game, but plenty of players have done it before, and gone on to be stronger in the areas that they have decided to focus on. Steve and Mark Waugh were allrounders when they first started; Alec Stewart used to be a wicketkeeper/batsman for England. If it helps his batting, and is good for NZ cricket, then I support the decision. If it is just an attempt to prolong his earning capacity as a player in the IPL, then it is a little sad.

  • Michael on June 28, 2010, 1:43 GMT

    This is disappointing. He's only 28 years old, and he feels his body can't cope with 'keeping in Test matches... I wonder if there's more to it than that, because generally 'keepers last well into their 30's. As for playing as a batsman only in Tests - if he played for a stronger nation I think he'd lose his spot. With the current NZ side, though, which doesn't have many stars, he'll probably hold on to it for a while. That is, until whatever the real reason for him giving up the keeping duties catches up with him and forces him out altogether.

  • Dummy4 on June 28, 2010, 1:33 GMT

    NZ hardly play any international cricket, leave alone test cricket and the wicket keeper wants to give up keeping to "prolong" his career. He is an average player as a batsman alone anyways (albeit he has some hits once in a while but that should not be good enough for holding a place as a batsman). Just fire him from tests n bring someone who has better attitude to play for NZ and for playing cricket in general.

  • Sam on June 28, 2010, 1:31 GMT

    wicket keepers are not important anyway... you can ask anyone in the team to keep wicket and they'll do an ok job.

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