New Zealand news July 8, 2010

Brendon McCullum nearly dumped NZ for IPL

Cricinfo staff
42

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

  • slikster 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.

  • 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.

  • StevieS 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.

  • 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.

  • beejaytee 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.

  • mehulmatrix 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.

  • Scgboy on July 9, 2010, 4:02 GMT

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

  • Nick_Pats 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...

  • 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..

  • lucyferr 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.

  • slikster 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.

  • 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.

  • StevieS 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.

  • 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.

  • beejaytee 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.

  • mehulmatrix 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.

  • Scgboy on July 9, 2010, 4:02 GMT

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

  • Nick_Pats 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...

  • 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..

  • lucyferr 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.

  • on July 9, 2010, 0:07 GMT

    Another person coming out with a hidden story to promote his book's sale. This is getting old.

  • bringbackleegermon on July 9, 2010, 0:01 GMT

    His comments show that quite clearly he does not understand the gravity of playing for New Zealand. Not to mention the fact that he would not be holding a bat without the country that sacrificed its own time and money to train him and make him good at cricket. He says he's upset at people who claim he doesn't care about his country, yet in the same breath admits he was/is willing to turn his back on his country for money? Give me McGlashan, Hopkins or Young any day, at least New Zealand is more important to them than the Kolkata whatsits and playing baseball-cricket. These comments make me sick, NZ heroes like Bert Sutcliffe didn't complain when he had to come out swathed in head bandages to bat for his country. Have some pride in the place that gave you everything it could so you could go make your money.

  • on July 8, 2010, 23:50 GMT

    Come On Brendon .. Don't Become a New Zealand rugby Union player and go 4 the cash oversea's and putting playing for the honor and pride of ur country second. Just remember, there will be nothing like raising ur bat, or winning a game for ur country Brendon

  • on July 8, 2010, 19:19 GMT

    Wrong, wrong , wrong all the way: he's played 273 international games and 208 consecutive international games (Tests, ODIs and T20Is) for New Zealand.

  • Hasso29 on July 8, 2010, 18:59 GMT

    lol. country is more than anything

  • TellasisPatel on July 8, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    IPL under Mr. Lalit Modi enjoyed great success, and so many of us followed the games because we liked what we saw. Cricketers, like the rest of us, want to make money. If all these Indian and other bloggers put their respective countries first like they want cricketers to do, their countries would make enormous progress. Let us not expect and ask others to do what we do not do ourselves. Thank you.

  • knowledge_eater on July 8, 2010, 16:30 GMT

    Typo in 2nd last line I meant "I don't see their long term future in IPL" and on top personally I thought without IPL or t20 performance, McCullum whole career was dud. It wasn't "sparkle-ly" as it was/is right now.

  • funsuk on July 8, 2010, 15:42 GMT

    It is really important to control the popularity and money control of IPL to save an interesting International cricket games and cricketers. I think now it might go out of ICC hand too since Sharad Pawar has appointed as ICC President. There will be more Politics in ICC now like Indian Politics and cricket standard will go to worse.

  • on July 8, 2010, 15:36 GMT

    lol, Yashwanat you are right, he hasnt played 208 consecutive ODIs! but he has actually played 208 consectutive international matches, that includes tests and T/20s.

  • nataraajds on July 8, 2010, 13:45 GMT

    Thanks to IPL, we can expect some more cricketers give up test for IPL money. ICC must plan to control this situation. specially our fast bowlers need to be protected. take case of zaheer, Sehwag, Gambhir all played IPL and then miss international matches due to injuries. my opinion IPL should be a plotform for young & upcoming cricketors . but those who all already established in intl. preserve their energy for national duty. Board should also take care of their financial interests because we need them.

  • pracheer_agarwal on July 8, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    hehe... good observation yashvanth... really funny..

  • on July 8, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    icc should take over ipl, likes of modi & bcci are gonna use it as money making league rather than a cricket league and there wont be any match fixing doubts if icc calls the shots

  • on July 8, 2010, 12:29 GMT

    I fully agree with someone who says he is a fan of McCullum. He is such a dynamic and professional guy who set a landmark in the opening match of IPL. He is a man who has to reach his own mark and all of the cricket lover would wish him to do in IPL4. Regarding preference to IPL over national side, naeh! its is unbelievable on the part of any professional player. First of all, a professional player is ought to be committted to his nation then for others. If not, then they must quite for once and all from the national team. The real identity is in playing for the nation and not in any other team.

  • knowledge_eater on July 8, 2010, 11:55 GMT

    @Boris72 @Andyhere IPL is for India more than anything I hope all of you read the whole match-fixing report and see why BIG stars of cricket failed for piece of cottage cheese. I can question long mind-boggling with 3 times bigger club cricket happening in England with these many years. No-one questioned it no-one complained, even I don't want to complain it. Its an employment. No-one is doing volunteer work by playing cricket. Heard of volunteer cricket anyone. People often were selected in team by their county club performance in England or vice versa they were playing for certain club because they did well for their Country. WHat I think from this whole incident, that ICC need to pass IPL for FTP, so people don't have excuse to leave or sacrifice certain duty for country or for IPL. By seeing how auction system work and all, I think if non-indian player will not perform as their franchise want them to I do see their long future in IPL. Don't perform bye bye.

  • Thunee_man_Naidoo on July 8, 2010, 11:39 GMT

    McCullum made a good decision not only for himself but also for the sake of NZ cricket. NZ cricket needs good role models for their younger players.

  • Jambo22 on July 8, 2010, 11:39 GMT

    @ Yashwanth - the 208 consecutive appearances includes T20s and Test matches, not just ODIs.

  • on July 8, 2010, 11:02 GMT

    Surely the ICC should be able to cap IPL wages / organise the IPL schedule so that franchise vs country debates aren't an issue.

    It's been a case of Modi and his chums at the BCCI trying to take over the world with a loud but ultimately substandard brand of cricket..

  • mahmood on July 8, 2010, 10:51 GMT

    This is all IPL, IPL, IPL... what the hell is going on, IPL is having a very bad affects on cricket and its players, it is reuning proper cricket, i think IPL should be stopped because there is no need of it of such a league as it makes several inter. players greedy and also some inter. players have to miss the ICC fixtures just because of IPL, its not a good idea to run IPL, my sayings will be remembered!!!

  • cricrup on July 8, 2010, 10:49 GMT

    Those who are commenting negatively on money before country why not choose a Govt. job instead of a MNC.We all are doing the same thing............then why the hell we are criticizing the cricketers?

  • mnemoniny on July 8, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    Cricket is first and foremost a game, not an "industry" as McCullum states. True enough, an industry has grown around it, but dude: on a practical level, you contribute nothing to society. People go home from their jobs that are more important than yours, and some of them go out afterwards to have an amateurish stab at this game you've devoted your life to. Very few people, I think you'll find, do this in order to prosper. Entertainment is what it is. Do not give it the misnomer "industry". You are more like a cow than an industrialist: an organised system exists to milk your particular talent for as much money as it will earn them. True, your life will be comfortable enough, but you will find yourself very quickly out of favour should you stop producing.

  • cricnivas on July 8, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    i dont understand all this crap and cry about "playing for money". is there someone who is playing even the charity games for free, they do it for money and popularity. so stop this rubbish and let them play their best cricket for best price.

  • Samar_Singh on July 8, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    "McCullum, who has a New Zealand record of 208 consecutive ODI appearances"

    When did he play 208 ODI... has only played 215 List A matches.. What is cricinfo's statistician doing, and where is the proof reader fooling around ??

    Just yesterday i read some where in cricinfo that he has played some 200+ consecutive international matches ... i think the writer mean this ...lol..

  • on July 8, 2010, 8:50 GMT

    Think of IPL.. Its Future

  • SebV on July 8, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    I have no problems with South Africans or Irish playing for England or . Now, how is this any different from choosing IPL over country? In fact, atleast in the IPL, you don't play your best against the country of your birth, unlike say KP or Trott (I'm fine with this too btw). So what if its all about money? Isn't cricket a professional sport? I agree with Kartik, he should secure his finances during his best years. The only people who are cringing and whining about this are the ones who can't make so much or are jealous of those who do.

  • on July 8, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    The IPL 2 season really hurt him and all his fans and iam the biggest fan of him.

  • on July 8, 2010, 6:58 GMT

    According to cricinfo McCullum played 171 ODI's...On which planet did he play the other 37 ODI's to make 208 consecutive ODI appearances for NZ.

  • muji1 on July 8, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    This shows that these days players play only for money and not for their country.they should understand that they are there because of their country

  • bobagorof on July 8, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    While not begrudging anyone the chance to make some extra money (even the obscene amounts thrown around in the IPL), I do find it disingenuous to classify it as 'securing family life' or 'having my family to think about'. Certainly, professional sportspeople only have a limited time (8 years so far in McCallum's case) in the sport in which to earn $100 000+ per year (plus match payments) playing international cricket... after which they then go find a job like everyone else. Many find work as administrators or commentators, or something completely separate from cricket. So to suggest that one's financial security relies on playing in the IPL is just wrong. Having said that, it's always nice to be paid a huge sum for a short period of work.

  • Boris72 on July 8, 2010, 5:57 GMT

    Pride is the only thing that is keeping quite a few players from not running away to this shambles of a tournament. India need to have a hard look at themselves and think about what IPL is doing to world cricket, and especially what it's doing to their team, their skill level has dropped quite a lot in all three forms, especially T20s, since IPL's introduction.

    And the thing about securing money for your family life... doesn't make sense. What international players earn from playing for their country is more than enough to live on comfortably, pay your children through university and have a holiday every year, especially if you are a key player like McCullum is. It's just the human nature to want more and more.

  • Andyhere on July 8, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    Woh.. Is it so tough to understand Mr. McCullum..that you are what you are because your represented your country.. IPL picked you because you were start Kiwi player.. Not just this incidence but looking at the overall impact.. i really hope IPL shuts down in very near future !

  • on July 8, 2010, 5:14 GMT

    You have done New Zealand proud Baz... While its is important to play for your country, its also important secure your family life!

  • KapitiCoast on July 8, 2010, 4:35 GMT

    Lets not get bogged down here in scemantics and 'proud to play for ones country' soundbites and face the facts....IPL pay upwards of $250,000 USD for 13 weeks work, McCullum is on $750,000(?), if you can earn $1 million NZD for 13 weeks work and have the other 39 weeks off, who wouldn't? It's smoke and mirrors saying 'i had unfinished business', he HAS to perform in IPL to be guaranteed his re selection for a high price, so far , last year, he hasn't and if he doesn't this next tournament...he will be down in salary (if picked) and he'll have to tour with NZ cricket contract, or he'll be well out of pocket. it's always has been, and will continue to be, (Flintoff is the same, no england contract) the money!! I'm not saying McCullum is right or wrong, but lets get the fact straight...$$$'s is what it's all about.

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  • KapitiCoast on July 8, 2010, 4:35 GMT

    Lets not get bogged down here in scemantics and 'proud to play for ones country' soundbites and face the facts....IPL pay upwards of $250,000 USD for 13 weeks work, McCullum is on $750,000(?), if you can earn $1 million NZD for 13 weeks work and have the other 39 weeks off, who wouldn't? It's smoke and mirrors saying 'i had unfinished business', he HAS to perform in IPL to be guaranteed his re selection for a high price, so far , last year, he hasn't and if he doesn't this next tournament...he will be down in salary (if picked) and he'll have to tour with NZ cricket contract, or he'll be well out of pocket. it's always has been, and will continue to be, (Flintoff is the same, no england contract) the money!! I'm not saying McCullum is right or wrong, but lets get the fact straight...$$$'s is what it's all about.

  • on July 8, 2010, 5:14 GMT

    You have done New Zealand proud Baz... While its is important to play for your country, its also important secure your family life!

  • Andyhere on July 8, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    Woh.. Is it so tough to understand Mr. McCullum..that you are what you are because your represented your country.. IPL picked you because you were start Kiwi player.. Not just this incidence but looking at the overall impact.. i really hope IPL shuts down in very near future !

  • Boris72 on July 8, 2010, 5:57 GMT

    Pride is the only thing that is keeping quite a few players from not running away to this shambles of a tournament. India need to have a hard look at themselves and think about what IPL is doing to world cricket, and especially what it's doing to their team, their skill level has dropped quite a lot in all three forms, especially T20s, since IPL's introduction.

    And the thing about securing money for your family life... doesn't make sense. What international players earn from playing for their country is more than enough to live on comfortably, pay your children through university and have a holiday every year, especially if you are a key player like McCullum is. It's just the human nature to want more and more.

  • bobagorof on July 8, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    While not begrudging anyone the chance to make some extra money (even the obscene amounts thrown around in the IPL), I do find it disingenuous to classify it as 'securing family life' or 'having my family to think about'. Certainly, professional sportspeople only have a limited time (8 years so far in McCallum's case) in the sport in which to earn $100 000+ per year (plus match payments) playing international cricket... after which they then go find a job like everyone else. Many find work as administrators or commentators, or something completely separate from cricket. So to suggest that one's financial security relies on playing in the IPL is just wrong. Having said that, it's always nice to be paid a huge sum for a short period of work.

  • muji1 on July 8, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    This shows that these days players play only for money and not for their country.they should understand that they are there because of their country

  • on July 8, 2010, 6:58 GMT

    According to cricinfo McCullum played 171 ODI's...On which planet did he play the other 37 ODI's to make 208 consecutive ODI appearances for NZ.

  • on July 8, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    The IPL 2 season really hurt him and all his fans and iam the biggest fan of him.

  • SebV on July 8, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    I have no problems with South Africans or Irish playing for England or . Now, how is this any different from choosing IPL over country? In fact, atleast in the IPL, you don't play your best against the country of your birth, unlike say KP or Trott (I'm fine with this too btw). So what if its all about money? Isn't cricket a professional sport? I agree with Kartik, he should secure his finances during his best years. The only people who are cringing and whining about this are the ones who can't make so much or are jealous of those who do.

  • on July 8, 2010, 8:50 GMT

    Think of IPL.. Its Future