New Zealand news July 8, 2010

Brendon McCullum nearly dumped NZ for IPL

Cricinfo staff

New Zealand wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum has said he nearly turned his back on his country to commit to an entire season of the IPL, before he changed his mind while on holiday in Fiji. McCullum made the revelations in his book Inside Twenty20, co-authored by journalist Dylan Cleaver, in which he talks about the impact of the lucrative Twenty20 tournament.

"I felt I had unfinished business from IPL II. The fact that the tournament did not pan out the way I envisaged had not sat well with me. I desperately wanted to turn it around," McCullum wrote. "I must admit I came bloody close to not signing with New Zealand Cricket. I took a plane to Fiji with my wife, Elissa, for a holiday and to think about what cricket meant to me.

"I had started to question how important cricket was to me ... This issue of signing, or not signing, my NZC contract brought it to a head. I needed to give something up to understand it and in the end what I did not want to give up was my full and utter commitment to New Zealand."

McCullum was one of several star picks of the Kolkata Knight Riders and he set the tournament alight in 2008 with a blazing 158 in Bangalore. The team underperformed under Sourav Ganguly in that season, and McCullum was handed the captaincy in 2009 after coach John Buchanan introduced the controversial multiple-captain theory. It was a rather forgettable season in charge for McCullum as the team finished at the bottom of the table and was the butt of jokes through a popular blog written by an unidentified 'Fake IPL blogger', claiming to be an insider in the team. Kolkata won just three out of 14 games and Ganguly took back the captaincy for the 2010 season.

McCullum, who has a New Zealand record of 208 consecutive ODI appearances, said he began to change his mind after people questioned his commitment to New Zealand cricket. "I get a bit disappointed when I read that I don't give a rat's a*** about playing for my country. The only reason the inference disappoints me is that I know the sacrifice I made to play for New Zealand," he wrote.

"In what other industry would you be expected to take options that cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars?"

The criticism wasn't just directed at him. He also writes about the negative press he and four other New Zealand players received after missing the first ten days of the tour of England in 2008 due to IPL commitments. "Doing something new is not always popular, is it?" he wrote.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Daniel on July 12, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    Brendon is one of the best cricketers nz has. He has obviously chosen country over cash. Maybe he prefers wearing the silverfern above holding a substantial wod of cash. Commitment to country, un-arguable! Kia Kaha.

  • Dummy4 on July 10, 2010, 14:12 GMT

    I am so happy that he decided to keep o playing for New Zealand in the end! But people should not be so money minded.

  • Garry on July 9, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    mehulmatrix I have 2 job overs for you, one pays 10 dollars a hour the other1000 dollars a hour and includes a 10 month holiday.

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    DUDES all over here criticising Baz Please read the article not just the headline.He Preferred his country to IPL.

  • Beau on July 9, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    To those commenters who are saying that Baz chose money over country - did you read this article? It states that he thought about it, then chose NZ over IPL.

  • Mehul on July 9, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    Another example of a cricketer giving priority to money and personal grudge/goal/issues over the sport & country. They should remember that they are not bigger then the sport, and as pointed by bringbacklee, if need be get more committed players, the game doesnt need people who think they doing a favor. Its because of their national title they got recognition.And hes missing a part of series( for money) and claiming about a change that people don't accept!!...NZ cricket should look into these statements if not communicated to them and appropriate action, and if need be bring in committed guys.

  • Ned on July 9, 2010, 4:02 GMT

    I actually thinks hes being honest, and its not because hes not a loyalist either.

  • Nick on July 9, 2010, 4:00 GMT

    "In what other industry would you be expected to take options that cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars?" - Doesn't make sense to me...

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2010, 0:53 GMT

    Its not only cricket... whatever may be the sport it is, criticism is the key factor. But, players has to disprove the claim against them by playing better sport. In one way criticism is good, coz it helps to find the best in a player. I support Brendan... He can deliver his best... And will disprove the criticism. All the best Brendan..

  • lucy on July 9, 2010, 0:18 GMT

    Countries really need to get their act together to compete with clubs. There is no real reason that 'playing for your country is the biggest thing in cricket' even if lots of people say so. Besides, he'd already done that - representing his country well for so many years. Whoever makes international schedules really needs to stop living in some strange alternate reality - instead, they should make a window for the IPL and other domestic leagues to fit in. I hope more cricketers in future will have more guts than McCullum and decisively choose club over country.

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