New Zealand news November 23, 2013

As captain I need more runs - McCullum

ESPNcricinfo staff
25

Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, has said he needs more runs in Tests to "lead from the front" and is not as worried about his form in the shorter formats. McCullum's last Test series was in Bangladesh, and he left the tour mid-way because of a back problem. He also missed the ongoing limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka to prepare for the home Tests against West Indies.

In two Tests in Bangladesh, McCullum scored 54 runs in three innings. Prior to that, during the summer in England, he had managed only 31 runs in four innings. His last respectable scores were in the home series against England in March when he scored a fifty in each of the three Tests.

"As captain I need more runs to have more impact with the message you're delivering to the group," McCullum told New Zealand Herald. "You always want to lead from the front. There's huge pressure in the next few Tests, not just from the team point of view but the individual as well. I'll certainly leave no stone unturned. Let's see how I go and if it doesn't work out we'll cross that bridge when we get to it."

McCullum's next opportunity in Tests is against West Indies in Dunedin from December 3. Before that, he will also lead New Zealand XI against West Indians in a three-day warm-up match starting on November 27 in Lincoln, having recovered from the injury that sent him home from Bangladesh.

"Before I went to Bangladesh I was the fittest and strongest I've been and tested off the scales, and still managed to pick up an injury," McCullum said. "There was complete and utter disappointment. I knew it wasn't great. That last game [second ODI against Bangladesh], I played on pretty heavy painkillers and that's not how the game is meant to be played. I was incapable of keeping and was running around like an old man. Knowing I had to leave the tour, leaving the boys behind, was the hardest thing."

McCullum also said he had felt soreness in his back while keeping in England, especially during the second Test in Leeds. "I blew my back out after about 53 overs when I reached to put a helmet down," he said. "I'd love to still be keeping in Test cricket but it's just not possible any more. I'm just lucky to be able to make the team as a batter, and some people question that, but I haven't picked a team throughout my career."

McCullum was not happy to give up the gloves but he was realistic about how long he might have had in the game if he had not. "It's something I've got to look at, and it's not very nice when it's what you've been doing it for a while. It might be either that [finish keeping] or give the game up," he said. "People think I pick and choose [games to keep wickets] but it's nothing to do with that. I've got a 60-year-old back and if I want to be able to lift my kids at 35 it's something I've got to entertain."

For now, McCullum is focused on leading the side, scoring more runs and leaving the team in a better state than when he got it. "I believe in this group of players and want to make a difference," McCullum said. "Just because I've had a few low scores hasn't changed my thinking. I'm very determined to finish my career in a strong way and leave this team better than when I took over."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • iceaxe on November 26, 2013, 19:14 GMT

    Plenty of fine players have had run droughts. I'm hoping Brendan is rested and ready to end that with the WI tour next month.

    I'm hoping him and Chris Gayle find their mojo again. If so, there will be some fine cricket on display. Bring it on!

  • hokeypokey on November 25, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut,hesson would never admitted to his mistakes, but for mr white and the new board members to move on and think we are all suckers makes me ill..the results are poor and the captain needs runs, the public are sick of the spin we are feed too. @22many, I wish I could laugh..

  • 22many on November 25, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut.

    Remember the quote in the Crowe open letter to the team just before the last test in Sri Lankan . . ."WE gave up listening to him years ago"....summed the whole situation up to me.

  • kiwicricketnut on November 25, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    Agree with 22many wright was the man for the job, he just needed players who listened, sometimes i think our players are uncoachable because they never seem to get any better, i believe taylor should still be the test captain, its way to soon to give it to williamson, he has alot to learn. Hesson will never admit to making a mistake, and i think we are stuck with him till the world cup but after that nz has to get serious about being a good cricket team before the game is destroyed in this country and get a world class coach to try and find some improvement in our players, i think if we had a decent coach players like mccullum would not have gone so far backwards, he use to be so good at rotating the strike, now he's just a block-basher, a good coach would have a player of mccullums talent contributing alot more.

  • 22many on November 25, 2013, 4:22 GMT

    @Paul Tudor......re Mr John Wright you say he had a "problem with leadership and direction (lack of) due to his leadership style" I say, With the success Mr Wright has had during his coaching stints with different Indian teams over the years, I believe most in the cricket world would back him ,and his style and direction, over the present out fit excluding Mr Bond. What do all the following teams have in common. South Africa Top Coach and Captain who does scores runs England Top Coach and Captain who does scores runs Australia Top Coach and Captain who does scores runs India Top Coach and Captain who does scores runs.

    Most thought New Zealand had that, and what did we do!!!!!

    You can only continue to laugh really.

  • on November 24, 2013, 23:22 GMT

    great attacking captain its just a pity he doesn't realize we don't have the attack to play that aggressively yet. Boult, Southee, Wagner and Bracewell are honest toilers but there not venomous unless they get assistance from the pitch. Southee and maybe even Boult look like they could become consistantly threatening even on docile pitches, but Boult needs time and we have to wait and see if Southee can maintain his reasonable form of late. Untill then we need a more multi-dimensional captain thats more able to work with what we have. McCullum could probably be that sort of captain if he stopped placing fields like he has an attack consisting of McGrath, Gillespie, Lee & Warne. Gotta play within your limits....and we have plenty of those. Also i definitely agree with the comments he should stick to limited overs, but he should stay down the order....he hasnt been prolific there but definitely failed as an opener, hes a much better finisher.

  • on November 24, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    We didn't make any progress under Wright. Our rankings did not advance, in fact in one form of the game we dropped a place I believe (ODIs?) More significantly, there were problems with leadership and direction (lack of) due to his management style.

  • 512fm on November 24, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    To be perfectly honest he probably wouldn't be in the test team if he wasn't captain. There is no way if Ryder is available that I would pick McCullum in my top 6, the guy has had more than enough chances.

  • on November 24, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    Time for both McCallum and Hesson to finish NOW then we can move forward.

  • hokeypokey on November 24, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    @snowbadger, as mike hesson said this time lastyear"split captaincy can work"he brought up successful countrys who do have split captaincy..how about countrys who have split coaches? ? I would suggest john wright with taylor as captain...we were making progress under wright..

  • iceaxe on November 26, 2013, 19:14 GMT

    Plenty of fine players have had run droughts. I'm hoping Brendan is rested and ready to end that with the WI tour next month.

    I'm hoping him and Chris Gayle find their mojo again. If so, there will be some fine cricket on display. Bring it on!

  • hokeypokey on November 25, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut,hesson would never admitted to his mistakes, but for mr white and the new board members to move on and think we are all suckers makes me ill..the results are poor and the captain needs runs, the public are sick of the spin we are feed too. @22many, I wish I could laugh..

  • 22many on November 25, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut.

    Remember the quote in the Crowe open letter to the team just before the last test in Sri Lankan . . ."WE gave up listening to him years ago"....summed the whole situation up to me.

  • kiwicricketnut on November 25, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    Agree with 22many wright was the man for the job, he just needed players who listened, sometimes i think our players are uncoachable because they never seem to get any better, i believe taylor should still be the test captain, its way to soon to give it to williamson, he has alot to learn. Hesson will never admit to making a mistake, and i think we are stuck with him till the world cup but after that nz has to get serious about being a good cricket team before the game is destroyed in this country and get a world class coach to try and find some improvement in our players, i think if we had a decent coach players like mccullum would not have gone so far backwards, he use to be so good at rotating the strike, now he's just a block-basher, a good coach would have a player of mccullums talent contributing alot more.

  • 22many on November 25, 2013, 4:22 GMT

    @Paul Tudor......re Mr John Wright you say he had a "problem with leadership and direction (lack of) due to his leadership style" I say, With the success Mr Wright has had during his coaching stints with different Indian teams over the years, I believe most in the cricket world would back him ,and his style and direction, over the present out fit excluding Mr Bond. What do all the following teams have in common. South Africa Top Coach and Captain who does scores runs England Top Coach and Captain who does scores runs Australia Top Coach and Captain who does scores runs India Top Coach and Captain who does scores runs.

    Most thought New Zealand had that, and what did we do!!!!!

    You can only continue to laugh really.

  • on November 24, 2013, 23:22 GMT

    great attacking captain its just a pity he doesn't realize we don't have the attack to play that aggressively yet. Boult, Southee, Wagner and Bracewell are honest toilers but there not venomous unless they get assistance from the pitch. Southee and maybe even Boult look like they could become consistantly threatening even on docile pitches, but Boult needs time and we have to wait and see if Southee can maintain his reasonable form of late. Untill then we need a more multi-dimensional captain thats more able to work with what we have. McCullum could probably be that sort of captain if he stopped placing fields like he has an attack consisting of McGrath, Gillespie, Lee & Warne. Gotta play within your limits....and we have plenty of those. Also i definitely agree with the comments he should stick to limited overs, but he should stay down the order....he hasnt been prolific there but definitely failed as an opener, hes a much better finisher.

  • on November 24, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    We didn't make any progress under Wright. Our rankings did not advance, in fact in one form of the game we dropped a place I believe (ODIs?) More significantly, there were problems with leadership and direction (lack of) due to his management style.

  • 512fm on November 24, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    To be perfectly honest he probably wouldn't be in the test team if he wasn't captain. There is no way if Ryder is available that I would pick McCullum in my top 6, the guy has had more than enough chances.

  • on November 24, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    Time for both McCallum and Hesson to finish NOW then we can move forward.

  • hokeypokey on November 24, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    @snowbadger, as mike hesson said this time lastyear"split captaincy can work"he brought up successful countrys who do have split captaincy..how about countrys who have split coaches? ? I would suggest john wright with taylor as captain...we were making progress under wright..

  • regofpicton on November 24, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    I accept that some of McCullum's batting problems result from his bad back. I don't accept that & the other problems can be cured simply by an effort of will. NZCricket should stop investing in what is a lost cause & see that McCullum was never a good test player. His series against the English here last summer was more to do with the poms being badly out of sorts that a reflection of McCullum's real worth. As for the idea that his captaincy makes up for his batting, he batted on & on in Auckland, obviously for the sake of his own figures, and the coach - THE COACH! - had to make the declaration. The poms finished 9 down & saved the test & the series. After that nonsense how can anyone possibly claim he's a good skipper? But making Williamson captain? When there is a REAL world-class player in the team, with leadership experience and a record of international success? However, I sure Taylor wouldn't take the captaincy under Hesson, nor would he be offered it. Now there's the rub . .

  • 22many on November 23, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    @choppa 13

    , none...used to be NZ until, for some reason, the failing CEO Mr White and co, decided it best to let Mr John Wright go,(yes the same Mr Wright who took India...yes India, to the top of the world and also just happens to be now ,the winning IPL and Champions Trophy coach) in favour of the highly sort after ,highly rated and hugely successful coach of Kenya, Mr Mike Hesson.

    You can only laugh really.

  • Snowbadger15 on November 23, 2013, 22:58 GMT

    If mccullum gave up tests and just focused on the short forms would be best because limited overs is his strong suit. He wont be dropped so he should just retire to save the team from his cheap wickets and make way for Ryder in the India tests. His is a great captain but he is a too costly liability to our team and his form pre captaincy was not flash so captaincy cant be blamed. Taylor should have the captaincy for tests and mcculum for the short formats. Test XI Latham, Fulton, Williamson, Taylor, Ryder, Anderson, Watling, Vettori, Southee, Wagner, Boult ODI XI Guptill, Ryder, Williamson, Taylor, McCullum, Anderson, Ronchi, Neesham, N McCullum, Southee, Mcclenaghan 12th man Latham

  • on November 23, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    mccullum should just focus on t20s and odis make way for other young and talented batsmen kane williamson should take over for tests

  • corzaNZ on November 23, 2013, 19:51 GMT

    @ Peter Smith... Good top 6, but if Ryder was to come back, McCullum wouldnt be the one to miss out, id have to say Fulton would be the unlucky one. Which would mean McCullum would have to open. He wants to make an impact so why not from the top??

  • hokeypokey on November 23, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    If his mate wasnt the coach, who disgracefully made mccullum captain ,he wouldnt make the test team on his recent numbers as a batsmen...

  • CodandChips on November 23, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    A destructive batsman with a fabulous T20I record. BUT he averages under 35 in Tests and averages 30 in ODIS at a strike rate of 90. Surely New Zealand have better batsmen. Maybe his time in the longer forms of the game is up.

  • on November 23, 2013, 15:44 GMT

    McCullum wouldnt be in my top 6 against the Windies, which would be Rutherford, Fulton, Williamson, Taylor, Ryder and Anderson.

  • SamWintson92 on November 23, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    McCullum is a great player. McCullum should give up the wicket-keeping. He should always open in the T20s. I like him in the opening position in tests & ODIs. But he moved down to 5 after his runs dried out & found form in the middle order.

  • on November 23, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    I have never rated McCullum very highly as a batsman. He is generally a slogger and far too inconsistent to be considered a genuine test batsman. His value as a player would decrease significantly if he can't keep wickets. However, he should put his health first and not risk serious injuries.

  • first_slip on November 23, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    over hyped slogger, dont rate him really

  • on November 23, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    We are with u maccullum............ And we will pray for more runs

  • choppa13 on November 23, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    @22many out of curiosity what country/team do u actually support?

    anyway Brendon has been saying this for a while about the fact his back is not up to the rigors of test match cricket so its hopeless anyone thinking otherwise , quite frankly he wasn't the only one that struggled in England or Bangladesh but yet he cops alot of flack if not all of it personally I think the team is better with him in it and with a few guys to come back in will lead to a test series win against the west Indies and an interesting series against India..... Go the black caps

  • kiwicricketnut on November 23, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    You could argue he's having a form slump in the shorter versions of the game and that he's just one good knock from being back to his beligerant best and i'd agree with that after all he's a class act in short form cricket but you can't say the same about his test game, form slumps don't last years on end, it no longer becomes a form slump after so long, more a technical issue with his game. His hand speed is such an asset in odi and t20 cricket but its how hard he goes at the ball with his hands that is his downfall in tests, surely coaches can see this, surely he knows this but can't seem to get it out of his game, the odd quick fire 50 isn't good enough, we need more from a leader and since he took the captaincy his game has gone through the floor. His body is packing up so maybe give up test cricket and concerntrate on destroying opposition attacks in the shorter forms like he use to, after all in odi's and t20 he's our biggest asset and match winner

  • 22many on November 23, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    Hard to leave the team better than when you took over...outright win. .good luck.

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  • 22many on November 23, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    Hard to leave the team better than when you took over...outright win. .good luck.

  • kiwicricketnut on November 23, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    You could argue he's having a form slump in the shorter versions of the game and that he's just one good knock from being back to his beligerant best and i'd agree with that after all he's a class act in short form cricket but you can't say the same about his test game, form slumps don't last years on end, it no longer becomes a form slump after so long, more a technical issue with his game. His hand speed is such an asset in odi and t20 cricket but its how hard he goes at the ball with his hands that is his downfall in tests, surely coaches can see this, surely he knows this but can't seem to get it out of his game, the odd quick fire 50 isn't good enough, we need more from a leader and since he took the captaincy his game has gone through the floor. His body is packing up so maybe give up test cricket and concerntrate on destroying opposition attacks in the shorter forms like he use to, after all in odi's and t20 he's our biggest asset and match winner

  • choppa13 on November 23, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    @22many out of curiosity what country/team do u actually support?

    anyway Brendon has been saying this for a while about the fact his back is not up to the rigors of test match cricket so its hopeless anyone thinking otherwise , quite frankly he wasn't the only one that struggled in England or Bangladesh but yet he cops alot of flack if not all of it personally I think the team is better with him in it and with a few guys to come back in will lead to a test series win against the west Indies and an interesting series against India..... Go the black caps

  • on November 23, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    We are with u maccullum............ And we will pray for more runs

  • first_slip on November 23, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    over hyped slogger, dont rate him really

  • on November 23, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    I have never rated McCullum very highly as a batsman. He is generally a slogger and far too inconsistent to be considered a genuine test batsman. His value as a player would decrease significantly if he can't keep wickets. However, he should put his health first and not risk serious injuries.

  • SamWintson92 on November 23, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    McCullum is a great player. McCullum should give up the wicket-keeping. He should always open in the T20s. I like him in the opening position in tests & ODIs. But he moved down to 5 after his runs dried out & found form in the middle order.

  • on November 23, 2013, 15:44 GMT

    McCullum wouldnt be in my top 6 against the Windies, which would be Rutherford, Fulton, Williamson, Taylor, Ryder and Anderson.

  • CodandChips on November 23, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    A destructive batsman with a fabulous T20I record. BUT he averages under 35 in Tests and averages 30 in ODIS at a strike rate of 90. Surely New Zealand have better batsmen. Maybe his time in the longer forms of the game is up.

  • hokeypokey on November 23, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    If his mate wasnt the coach, who disgracefully made mccullum captain ,he wouldnt make the test team on his recent numbers as a batsmen...