Australia in New Zealand 2009-10 March 24, 2010

McCullum considers giving up the gloves


Brendon McCullum will spend New Zealand's off-season pondering his future as a Test wicketkeeper after the successful emergence of Gareth Hopkins in the shorter formats. McCullum opens in one-day and Twenty20 internationals but bats at No. 7 in the Test team and made his fifth century against Australia in Wellington this week, an innings he described as his best Test hundred.

Although McCullum has for many years been considered the best wicketkeeper-batsman in New Zealand, he has expressed a desire to hang up the gloves and focus on his batting. During the Twenty20s and ODIs against Australia, Hopkins kept wicket and proved a very handy lower-order batsman and New Zealand will discuss whether that could work at Test level as well.

The main problem is that McCullum's run scoring in Test cricket has been less consistent than in the shorter formats, although in the past year he has lifted his output and has made three centuries and averaged 48.60. It appears likely that Hopkins will retain the gloves for the upcoming ICC World Twenty20, but New Zealand have no Tests scheduled in the next few months, so McCullum has time to consider his five-day future.

"We've got a few months coming up that we've got off, so it's something that we've got to try and weigh up during that downtime," McCullum said. "At the moment I'm very much fixed on making sure that I can make a contribution in this next Test match as a wicketkeeper-batsman. I have to continuously score runs to warrant a place in the top six."

The captain Daniel Vettori said it was a matter of team balance in each format as to whether McCullum could play purely as a batsman. The two men have spoken about the issue but have not yet come to a resolution as to what is best for the Test outfit.

"It's a tough one," Vettori said. "Brendon and I have had a number of discussions on it. The emergence of Gareth Hopkins in the limited overs has probably made the decision a little bit easier if it does go that way. But I still think Brendon is one of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen in the world.

"If we can get him for all forms of the game that would be great, but we also understand that probably in one-dayers and Twenty20, his runs are the most important thing to us. If that's the best thing for the team then I support it."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bridge on March 26, 2010, 12:25 GMT

    During the match at the Basin, Craig McMillan said that he would absolutely love to see McCullum carrying on batting+keeping. I agree with him very much. It is ideal for the balance of the team. NZ can't afford a new keeper who by no means is better than McCullum. NZ cricket need a lot of things right now, like a prolific top-order batsman, a very fast bowler, an all-rounder like Cairns or Oram etc, but they r not in any sort of need of a keeper who can bat a bit like Hopkins or Reece Young or McGlashan. It would destroy the team balance.

  • Bridge on March 26, 2010, 11:57 GMT

    @Mitchell Young: Mitch, have u forgotten about our left arm fast Andy McKay?? Why have u left him out?? And also, I think Watling is a promising prospect. NZ selection committee should stick with him as he is a young and exciting player. Cumming is too old to open and he wasted is chance in the past. He is 34 and in 11 tests, he has got only one 50. Sinclair is also 34, but he capitalised on his chances better than Cumming with some big hundreds. And I'm not convinced about Guptill either. I think he is a great player, but too young to play in this level. Replacing him with James Franklin will give us a better dimension. He is the perfect all-rounder whom NZ need after the exit of Cairns and Oram. My line up would be (when fit) McIntosh,Watling,Sinclair,Taylor,Ryder,McCullum,Vettori,Franklin,Mills,Tuffey,AJ Mckay

  • Shane on March 26, 2010, 1:45 GMT

    You're a silly man Gupta - NZ don't play more in the sub-continent because boards such as the BCCI have become fixated on playing certain other nations constantly. The NZ team would love the chance to travel to India more, believe me

  • ankur on March 25, 2010, 4:32 GMT

    Until and unless NZ gets out of home sickness or fear of losing abroad...........they will continue to lose at home.

    One should not be afraid of playing in temperatures more than 30 degrees.....

  • Mark on March 25, 2010, 2:57 GMT

    McCullum clearly wants to bat up the order but it isn't a great idea for a 'keeper to bat high in the order in tests. There's really only a few who have been a reasonable success in relatively recent times such as Andy Flower. Anyway, with Taylor entrenched at 4, Ryder to eventually return at 5 and Vettori seemingly set at 6 the only place McCullum can go is 1-3.

    Personally, I'd like to see him sticking to his 6 or 7 role and 'keeping as there's no suggestion from anyone that his knees, back or fingers can't handle it anymore so no reason to give up 'keeping. It would give Vettori a decent argument if NZ actually had a top order!!

    If I was selector for the upcoming match the team from the current squad would look like this: McIntosh, Watling, Taylor, Guptill, Williamson, Vettori, McCullum, Franklin, Southee, Arnel, Martin

  • Dummy4 on March 25, 2010, 2:42 GMT

    Mr.ANkurGupta: Dhoni is definitely not the best in the world when it comes to wicketkeeping . He is just average . He is a fantastic batsman and thats why he is the team so they can play an extra seamer/spinner if needed . I admit Dhoni has taken several great catches but he has dropped even more sitters. His footwork while standing up to spinners is hopeless. Having said that, I like his captaincy and IMO, boucher , Healy and Gilly were two of the best wiki batsmen in the wrold. But here is a thing to ponder . Do you remmeber Gilly/Boucher for batting or for Wicketkeeping (from what i have seen on him he is a fantastic keeper and dropped very less, although he hadnt the best footwork to warne). Second, Healy is always remembered for his wicketkeeping . SImilarly Dhoni will be remembered as a batsman first and THEN a wiketkeeper, much like Mccullum . The best wicketkeeper in the world is prolly prasanna jayawardena but he is hopeless with the bat. So it is difficult to properly

  • Ibrahim on March 25, 2010, 2:11 GMT

    Gupta Ankur, it's true that NZL doesn't tour often enough, but other than that it's ridiculous to call Dhoni/Boucher better than Haddin/McCullum. Dhoni's a fine leader and a committed batsman, but his keeping is frankly par at best. Boucher's batting is gritty but not much more, though he's an excellent keeper. Both BrendanMcCullum, whose keeping/fielding is underrated and who is a very useful batsman, and Haddin who's also a damaging strokeplayer and an athletic keeper are better overall as keeper/batsmen. It's a tough call but I think McCullum could surrender the gloves because he's an excellent fieldsman and it could take off pressure

  • Dummy4 on March 25, 2010, 1:31 GMT

    McCullum is the best keeper batsman in the world at the moment in all three forms of the game. Next to Vettori and Taylor he is probably New Zealand's most consistent batsman.

  • Cam on March 25, 2010, 1:09 GMT

    I would like to see this side have a crack (once all are fit and available!!!)

    Watling McIntosh Guptill Taylor Ryder Williamson McCullum Vettori Tuffey Southee Martin

    Ideally, we need another bowler that can at least hurry up the batsem on occasion, but there is no point in having our tail start effectively at number 8!! Clearly I'm banking on Williamson to develop as a potential second spinner (a la Marcus North, Michael Clarke, Chris Gayle....), and Ryder to run through a few overs to give the front line bowlers a rest.


  • Shane on March 25, 2010, 1:03 GMT

    Completely agree with most people here - McCullum is the best keeper in the world at the moment. I'm a big fan of his - but from someone who always talks about how he wants to help the team win as many games as he can, this is disappointing. If he doesn't keep, this just means we have to carry another keeper, who won't be as good, and who isn't a full-fledged batsman. We need runs! So we need to use this spot for another batsman. I just don't agree with having another keeper who neither bats nor keeps as well as Brendon does.

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