Australia in New Zealand 2009-10 March 24, 2010

McCullum considers giving up the gloves

41

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

  • nzlallblacks 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.

  • nzlallblacks 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-oh 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

  • Gupta.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.....

  • MarkM33 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

  • 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

  • long_handle9 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

  • 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.

  • camderby 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.

    Thoughts????

  • shane-oh 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.

  • nzlallblacks 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.

  • nzlallblacks 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-oh 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

  • Gupta.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.....

  • MarkM33 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

  • 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

  • long_handle9 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

  • 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.

  • camderby 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.

    Thoughts????

  • shane-oh 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.

  • on March 25, 2010, 0:05 GMT

    It is Brendon McCullumms choice wether he wants to keep or not nut I think he should. If he dosent then I think he must take the responsibility of batting at 3. Ingram is not a test player. They tried Reece Young in Sri Lanka why not give him a go his batting is good enough to bat at 7 or 8. Also i dont like the idea of Vettori batting at 6 it leaves us with a 4 man tail. I think we need an allrounder at 6. I would have (when fit) McIntosh, Cumming, Sinclair, Taylor, Guptill, Ryder, McCullumm, Vettori, Tuffey, Mills, Martin

  • ezzanevawaz on March 24, 2010, 20:33 GMT

    McGlashen might actually be the best keeper in NZ. Hopkins is a good keeper and a real fighter with the bat . He's also very consistent. Age has beggar all to do with it if you train well and are fit. Especially with smaller players. Look at how long Bob Taylor kept wickets for England!Gutted Hopkins didn't make the 2nd Test squad. I think the selectors still want Ingram to justify their faith in him. Good luck to him , he's gonna have to get those feet moving more, keep positive , and with some luck , get a start.

  • on March 24, 2010, 20:22 GMT

    Id say Hamish Marshall would be my choice too but i think he would be found out by Johnson ? Any one who plays on the back foot too much seems too get his hand broken, Williamson may find that out. I think McCullums innings was gritty and inteligent and he could play as a batsman it shows he can change his game to suit test cricket so kudos to him but until New Zealand have a North v's South Island tounament or join in Australias competition(which will never happen again) they will be under a faulse sense of security of how good they're players really are !

  • amdtelrunya on March 24, 2010, 20:16 GMT

    @Gupta.Ankur - NZ tours depend largely on invitations from other teams. The only places NZ hasn't toured since the end of 2007 (just over two years ago) are Pakistan and West Indies (both in 2002) and India (2003/2004). South Africa hasn't toured NZ since 2003/2004. Not touring Pakistan is clearly a security issue. Why NZ aren't touring West Indies I have no idea (you'd think the state they're in they would have anybody to come and play). That leaves only a tour to India for NZ. And for some reason I don't think it is NZ cricket's fault that they haven't had an invitation from the BCCI. So your argument just doesn't stack up.

  • SS2cat on March 24, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    @ jjoseph4 you are an absolute idiot. Bond has retired from tests, Ryder in injured, Hamish Marshall is retired from international cricket and Guptill, Watling, McIntosh need more chances

  • kuroneko on March 24, 2010, 17:45 GMT

    @ gupta ankur... what are you on about "touring outside australia"??? what does this even mean? as for baz giving up the gloves, in principle i disagree with it, but with nz's top order woes i can see how it might work. while young guys like watling and williamson learn their craft, and ryder comes back from injury, maybe he can open and give hopkins the gloves. and long term the option will be kruger van wyk. i don't think he's available at the moment.

  • jjoseph4 on March 24, 2010, 16:01 GMT

    leave mccullum alone.I don't understand why vettori is batting at no 5.yes i know he could bat.McIntosh,wattling,Ingram and guptill is a complete waste in the test side.the nz test side should be like this.papps,williamson,ryder,taylor,hamish marshall,mccullum,oram,vettori,franklin,tuffey,bond.

  • Gupta.Ankur on March 24, 2010, 15:53 GMT

    NZ must also summon the courage to tour outside Australia and also to play more cricket.....

  • tombaan on March 24, 2010, 14:53 GMT

    Brendon cannot be worse than the top order batsman the kiwis have in their team....atleast he is not afraid and has the potential.....

  • Uranium on March 24, 2010, 14:50 GMT

    Its not as if McCullum duffed a number of easy chances as keeper. Unless Hopkins' batting is good enough to justify a spot as a batsmen then I wouldn't make the change.

  • zn264 on March 24, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    Why add another nothing type player when we need to focus on strong players who can either bat and score hundreds, or bowl and take 5 wickets each! Lets focus on the future, McCullum is starting to strengthen his batting which is great, I'm sure he can keep too, oh that's right he can! HE JUST DID. Hopkins, your too old. What are New Zealand thinking?

  • Gupta.Ankur on March 24, 2010, 12:04 GMT

    also mr,popcorn,if m.s dhoni is lucky then why doesn't vettori ask for some "get lucky" tips from Steve Waugh,Clive Loyd,ponting.........Are these guys plain lucky? And is pace the only key to get wickets?-what abt seam movement,line&length?

    like i said you have wonderful cricketing brain................

  • Gupta.Ankur on March 24, 2010, 11:56 GMT

    Very amusing comments-Mr.Popcorn.

    Dhoni-plain lucky............NZ bowlers 15kmph slower than Aussie bowlers........but buddie arent we talking about NZ's batting woes here?

    Anyway's nice to know that you have a wonderful cricketing brain.

  • hickmon on March 24, 2010, 11:27 GMT

    This doesn't really make sense to me. Brendon is the best wicket-keeper we have (much better than Hopkins at least), but only just good enough as a batsman. Why would you bring in someone who is both a worse wicketkeeper and a worse batsman just so you can have one of your star players give up a major part of what he contributes to the team and the balance of the team?

  • vinnigefanie on March 24, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    I see that someone mentioned Kruger van Wyk as a test candidate for the side. Well, if England have gine that route, why not the Black Caps? He is a neat thoughtful wickey and having seen him in a couple of recent Plunket Shield games, his batting is as solid as any and frankly he was squeezed out of the South Africa system for reasons of what can be described as dubious selection policy.

  • youfoundme on March 24, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    @ Gupta.Ankur, I don't want to start anything - but McCullum is the best Wicket Keeper in the world, end of story.

  • BlackArmbands on March 24, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    Either McCullum keeps or he doesn't play. He's got too high an opinion of himself. He was tried and failed miserably at no 5 (including one full series against Bangladesh). Hopkins is no great keeper. In the T20s and ODIs he missed at least 2 stumpings and 2 runouts. For all heroics in the super over, that game should've never got there. He should've comfotably run out White. nos 3-6 should be Taylor, Sinclair, Guptil, Ryder. McCullum if keeping is 7, otherwise Reece Young. We also cannot afford to have both Arnel and Martin in the same team. Southe better learn to put his body in the line. Learning to mouth off is no good if you don't have the heart to get behind the line. McIntosh is a runout waiting to happen. Hopefully How will be back. If Ingram plays, he has to open. Selectors have to make a call on who the best 2 openers are. Thinking is totally muddled in this team ... McCullum not wanting to keep is just that. Williamson goes from not good enough to the poster boy!

  • popcorn on March 24, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    NZ Cricket and Brendon Mccullum have several things to ponder1) The history of Wicket-keeper Captains is poor. Gerry Alexander of the West Indies, Kumar Sangakara of Sri Lanka and plain lucky Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Too much to think about while focussing on the ball and the bat and getting up and squatting 500 times for 540 legal deliveries (90 overs) a day.2)There is place only for one of Mccullum AND Gareth Hopkins - Hopkins is no great shakes with the bat.3) Despite having 4 quicks and one turner,New Zealand could take only 5 Australian wickets against 20 New Zealand wickets taken by 3 quicks and one turner.The quicks are at least 15 kph slower the Aussie quicks.

  • Sam_Barnett on March 24, 2010, 8:29 GMT

    Hopkins is 33, now I know wickeys last longer but I still don't see this as being a long-term answer

  • TopDogg on March 24, 2010, 8:29 GMT

    This just seems like a stupid idea. Nz isnt exactly the strongest batting unit in world cricket. Surely giving urselves an extra batsman or bowler by having mcullum as a keeper batsman would be the smarter option. Hopkins clearly isnt good enough to make the Nz side just on his batting. Especialy in test match cricket where NZ strugle to register 300 on a regular basis..

  • jagwani on March 24, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    @blackcap68 - You said McCullum twice yourself.... Anyway, to point. Sangakarra did it cause Prasanna is a fantastic keeper-batsman and Sangakarra is doing well. No reason to think why Hopkins and McCullum both can't benefit from this.

  • Gupta.Ankur on March 24, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    What? McCullum best in the world? Mr.Dyldog? ever heard of M.S Dhoni? or Boucher?

    Anyhow,i think this will be a good option worth considering,but the WK must be someone for the future..........who can be with the team for long time.

  • on March 24, 2010, 7:24 GMT

    If McCullum is dropping the gloves in test matches the replacement CANNOT be Gareth Hopkins - Hopkins is a TERRIBLE keeper and a decent batsmen.

    We need to be looking at Sri Lanka's example, and picking the next best pure keeper in the country (Derek de Boorder), a dropped catch in a test match off a good batsmen will cost you 40-50 runs, who cares if Hopkins might average 10+ more with the bat if he is dropping 2-3 chances per match.

  • beejaytee on March 24, 2010, 6:37 GMT

    Hopkins should be given a chance to prove himself at test level. While he's hardly been a revelation in the shorter forms, he's been solid and looked like he's got a bit of mongrel in him. McCullum should take care of his back and hands, and keep focussing on hundreds. I'd love to see Williamson and Hopkins given a go in the second test, replacing Ingram and the injured Tuffey.

  • gzawilliam on March 24, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    Well i think its a no brainer removing the wicketkeeping role from mccullum from the test arena. Hopkins proved thaty he can bat very well against top teams like AUS and no make any mistakes behind the stumps.

    And he cannot do worse than the batsmen already in the middle order now. He would have to be a better bet than Ingram or even watling. So i think NZ need hopkins more for his batting than keeping anyway.

    And the thought of mccullum considering this to help his captaincy chances? Why on earth would anyone with such an important role in the team want to captain such a inconsistant team.

    Mccullum is evolving as a batsmen as we all thought he would with experience so this phase of his career is vital to his development as a top batsmen.

    In my opinion he should focus on batting only(as he is a fantastic fielder anyway) and try to bring his average up to 40 which is think he is easily capable of.

  • Blackcap68 on March 24, 2010, 4:55 GMT

    It's McCullum, not McCullum.

    Very true though, he is the man.

  • on March 24, 2010, 4:17 GMT

    Van Wyk could potentially be a test keeper-batsman.

  • tezmond on March 24, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    firstl, learn to spell before you have a go at sports writers,i think "MCALLUM'plays for ireland,not nz hahahah. he wont ever be captain while daniel luca is around,hes only a year or so younger than him. secondly he wouldnt cope with the extra stress.

  • youfoundme on March 24, 2010, 3:59 GMT

    What's the point... Hopkins is 5 years McCullum's senior and their stats aren't any greater than each others. McCullum also isn't just regarded the best wicket keeper in NZ, he is also regarded as the best in the world, you take that away and he is just considered an under achiever with the bat. As far as improvements go for McCullum with his batting, well we are already seeing it - 2 centuries already this year and his average of 48.60 over the past year is a big improvement. But with the likes of Watling, Guptill, Williamson, Ryder and Taylor in the top 6 the only place I can see McCullum taking is the No.6 position, and he is usually in that spot anyway... The next couple of months are gonna be very hard on McCullum in choosing which way he goes for the future, I just hope he picks the right one.

  • 29qw on March 24, 2010, 3:00 GMT

    brendon is such an amazing wicket keeper

  • Rag-Aaron on March 24, 2010, 2:30 GMT

    McCallum, who says he'd love to be captain, gets told it's unlikely he will while he's still wicket keeper (and lets face it, even Gilchrist didn't manage that), thenTaylor gets made 'reserve' captain to prove a point and suddenly McCallum is considering hanging up the gloves.

    Am I the only one who's made the connection here? Surely a sports journalist somewhere has figured out that maybe McCallum is preparing to give up the gloves SO he can be captain after Vettori.

    Anyone who doubts how serious he is about improving his batting should take another look at his century against Australia. He's always been accused of being a flat track bully and of throwing his wicket away but here he is against a top side grinding out a century under very difficult circumstances and looking very determined to curb his attacking instincts.

    I don't think he got enough plaudits for that century and I'd suggest that it's the desire to be captain thats driving him to perform so well at the moment.

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  • Rag-Aaron on March 24, 2010, 2:30 GMT

    McCallum, who says he'd love to be captain, gets told it's unlikely he will while he's still wicket keeper (and lets face it, even Gilchrist didn't manage that), thenTaylor gets made 'reserve' captain to prove a point and suddenly McCallum is considering hanging up the gloves.

    Am I the only one who's made the connection here? Surely a sports journalist somewhere has figured out that maybe McCallum is preparing to give up the gloves SO he can be captain after Vettori.

    Anyone who doubts how serious he is about improving his batting should take another look at his century against Australia. He's always been accused of being a flat track bully and of throwing his wicket away but here he is against a top side grinding out a century under very difficult circumstances and looking very determined to curb his attacking instincts.

    I don't think he got enough plaudits for that century and I'd suggest that it's the desire to be captain thats driving him to perform so well at the moment.

  • 29qw on March 24, 2010, 3:00 GMT

    brendon is such an amazing wicket keeper

  • youfoundme on March 24, 2010, 3:59 GMT

    What's the point... Hopkins is 5 years McCullum's senior and their stats aren't any greater than each others. McCullum also isn't just regarded the best wicket keeper in NZ, he is also regarded as the best in the world, you take that away and he is just considered an under achiever with the bat. As far as improvements go for McCullum with his batting, well we are already seeing it - 2 centuries already this year and his average of 48.60 over the past year is a big improvement. But with the likes of Watling, Guptill, Williamson, Ryder and Taylor in the top 6 the only place I can see McCullum taking is the No.6 position, and he is usually in that spot anyway... The next couple of months are gonna be very hard on McCullum in choosing which way he goes for the future, I just hope he picks the right one.

  • tezmond on March 24, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    firstl, learn to spell before you have a go at sports writers,i think "MCALLUM'plays for ireland,not nz hahahah. he wont ever be captain while daniel luca is around,hes only a year or so younger than him. secondly he wouldnt cope with the extra stress.

  • on March 24, 2010, 4:17 GMT

    Van Wyk could potentially be a test keeper-batsman.

  • Blackcap68 on March 24, 2010, 4:55 GMT

    It's McCullum, not McCullum.

    Very true though, he is the man.

  • gzawilliam on March 24, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    Well i think its a no brainer removing the wicketkeeping role from mccullum from the test arena. Hopkins proved thaty he can bat very well against top teams like AUS and no make any mistakes behind the stumps.

    And he cannot do worse than the batsmen already in the middle order now. He would have to be a better bet than Ingram or even watling. So i think NZ need hopkins more for his batting than keeping anyway.

    And the thought of mccullum considering this to help his captaincy chances? Why on earth would anyone with such an important role in the team want to captain such a inconsistant team.

    Mccullum is evolving as a batsmen as we all thought he would with experience so this phase of his career is vital to his development as a top batsmen.

    In my opinion he should focus on batting only(as he is a fantastic fielder anyway) and try to bring his average up to 40 which is think he is easily capable of.

  • beejaytee on March 24, 2010, 6:37 GMT

    Hopkins should be given a chance to prove himself at test level. While he's hardly been a revelation in the shorter forms, he's been solid and looked like he's got a bit of mongrel in him. McCullum should take care of his back and hands, and keep focussing on hundreds. I'd love to see Williamson and Hopkins given a go in the second test, replacing Ingram and the injured Tuffey.

  • on March 24, 2010, 7:24 GMT

    If McCullum is dropping the gloves in test matches the replacement CANNOT be Gareth Hopkins - Hopkins is a TERRIBLE keeper and a decent batsmen.

    We need to be looking at Sri Lanka's example, and picking the next best pure keeper in the country (Derek de Boorder), a dropped catch in a test match off a good batsmen will cost you 40-50 runs, who cares if Hopkins might average 10+ more with the bat if he is dropping 2-3 chances per match.

  • Gupta.Ankur on March 24, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    What? McCullum best in the world? Mr.Dyldog? ever heard of M.S Dhoni? or Boucher?

    Anyhow,i think this will be a good option worth considering,but the WK must be someone for the future..........who can be with the team for long time.