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As captain I need more runs - McCullum

ESPNcricinfo staff

November 23, 2013

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Brendon McCullum kept wickets without his pads on, England v New Zealand, 1st Investec Test, Lord's, 3rd day, May 18, 2013
Brendon McCullum's back problem has curtailed his wicketkeeping career © Getty Images
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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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 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!

Posted by 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..

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by   on (November 24, 2013, 7:58 GMT)

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

Posted by 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..

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