New Zealand news June 22, 2011

'Hope McCullum stays part of leadership group'

New Zealand's coach, John Wright, is confident Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor can work together after the drawn-out jostle to become the team's captain. Wright said the near three months that it took to decide between the two candidates, as New Zealand Cricket (NZC) waited for them to return home from the IPL, was far from ideal.

Daniel Vettori's last game in charge, the World Cup semi-final, was in late March, and it took 84 days for Taylor to be confirmed as his successor. Months of speculation as to who would win the role didn't help team stability as Taylor and McCullum waited for a decision from a three-man panel comprising Wright, the director of cricket John Buchanan and the national selection manager Mark Greatbatch.

"To be honest, in future I hope that whatever processes are embarked on in reaching these decisions are probably a little bit more rapid than they have been in this case," Wright said. "For me, being a coach, we're in a sporting competitive environment and it's about making decisions as quickly as possible and then getting on with things."

Wright said he hoped that after spending so long with his eyes on the top job, McCullum could remain a leader within the squad despite the disappointment of being overlooked. McCullum said on Tuesday that he was keen to take on the vice-captaincy and Wright said that while no decision had been made on who would be second-in-command, he was sure McCullum could work with Taylor in any capacity.

"I hope that Brendon, by the time this all settles down, is an important part of our leadership group," Wright said. "[As India coach] I've worked in the past with Ganguly and Dravid and Kumble and Tendulkar - with Dravid and Ganguly they were captain and vice-captain, they helped each other and were very important to the side.

"I hope that Brendon will come to terms with this and I still think he's got an important part to play in the leadership of this team. If he wants to do the job [as vice-captain], if Ross Taylor is off the field he's certainly the bloke that seems an obvious candidate."

Taylor won the role in part due to being the incumbent vice-captain, and also because he impressed with his tactical nous and his run-making when he has stood in for Vettori over the past two years. The new captain's approach might be understated, but Wright has been pleased with the decisions he has seen from Taylor when he has had the chance to lead.

"One of the advantages that Ross had was that he was the incumbent and he'd performed well in his vice-captaincy role," Wright said. "From my perspective, from the time that I've been with the team since Christmas that probably gave him an advantage over Brendon.

"They both presented well. It was obvious that they had a passion for the job. I've been impressed with his [Taylor's] captaincy when he's had the opportunity. There have been a couple of occasions when he has made some subtle field changes that have worked and we've got wickets. There are some things he's done that you look at and you think, 'yeah, that's actually worked'."

New Zealand's next series is in Zimbabwe in September, a tour on which Taylor will become his country's 27th Test captain, and only the third man to do the job this century. He then faces a tough tour of Australia, followed by home Tests against Zimbabwe and South Africa to round out the 2011-12 summer.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ahsan on June 23, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    I think neither of McCullum & Taylor have half a qualities of a leader of what Dan has & quarter of Fleming because they lack consistency & leadership traits, but from the lot they have Ross is the best choice. They both are aggressive but aggressiveness needs a wise head on shoulders.

  • Dummy4 on June 23, 2011, 0:29 GMT

    Ross Taylor will make agood captain,as he plays to win,but plays in the spirit that the game should be played,as did his predecessor Daniel Vettori.Both are true sportsmen which is more than can be said for other international captains and cricketers who are prone to playing with spite and malice.

  • Chris on June 22, 2011, 23:32 GMT

    I am happy with Ross Taylor as captain and as I have said before this team has a bright future with the young talent coming through. However I think for Ross to become a great batsmen first he needs to give away the smash and bash of 20/20.

  • Dummy4 on June 22, 2011, 20:10 GMT

    I think Ross Taylor to caption the side and mccullum to vice caption it

  • Dummy4 on June 22, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    In a few matches I have seen Taylor as a Captain, he is unimaginative and inspirational only when his team is ahead. NZ made the wrong choice. McCullum is a better leader.

  • Chris on June 22, 2011, 13:06 GMT

    I still wish Vettori had stayed on as captain but since he wished out this is absolutely the right decision. Huge part of it is how they have performed while being captain Taylor - Great, McCullam - average.. Not just in performance (he only captained 2 one dayers and scored 71 and 0) but also in performance of team. While he was captain of the Knight Riders the team did very poorly in 2009! Their record that year with him as captain was 14 games 3 wins, 7 lost, 1 NR, his scores were 1,3,1,0,5,19,35,6,20,81,9 for an average of 16.75. Enough said i think.

  • Alexander on June 22, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    Would love to see Taylor lead the side for a decade, he has the chance to be a true great.

  • hassan on June 22, 2011, 9:45 GMT

    I think Ross Taylor is more dependable than McCullum. A captain who leads from the front always inspires and boosts the morale of the team. Ross has ability to absorb the pressure in middle order and let's see how he performs under pressure of captaincy which will be immense after this unwanted tussle. McCullum is a good player but he should focus on consistency and try to score at every opportunity.

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