South Africa v New Zealand, 3rd T20, Port Elizabeth December 26, 2012

Progression of the team encouraging - McCullum

ESPNcricinfo staff

Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, has said that although they lost the Twenty20 series to South Africa 2-1, he was pleased with the way his young team responded after the drubbing in Durban. McCullum pointed out to the progression of the young players in the squad as one of the big positives from the series.

"The introduction of the new guys, playing in front of big crowds, is a positive," McCullum said. "We have seen some good performances from the new guys, especially Mitchell McClenaghan, and it is encouraging.

"Although, we didn't get the results, we took significant strides in the series. The key thing is to continue to build the team inside out. We saw some guys step up, and they would now know what's required in international cricket. Progression of where we were a couple of weeks ago and where we are now, it's good."

New Zealand started the tour in a disastrous manner when they collapsed to 86 batting first in Durban and lost by eight wickets. But they turned the tables on South Africa in East London, mainly due to an unbeaten century by Martin Guptill. The deciding match in Port Elizabeth was expected to be an even contest, but it didn't turn out that way.

"We came into this game with high hopes," McCullum said. "We built up some good momentum after the East London game. For few moments today, we competed well, but South Africa grabbed the bigger moments and we were found wanting."

New Zealand, after being asked to field, kept a tight leash on the South African scoring till the 14th over, but gave away 80 runs in the last six overs to cede the advantage. Chasing a big total, they lost Rob Nicol early and though Guptill and McCullum shone for a while, their wickets ended New Zealand's challenge.

Some of the members of the T20 team are headed back to New Zealand and McCullum said that for the rest, the focus quickly needs to change to Test cricket now. "The Test guys that have joined us two days ago, we need to channel our focus towards Tests, to the challenge of taking on the No. 1 Test side in the world."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • adam on December 27, 2012, 17:06 GMT

    @SameOld - hit the nail on the head my friend. Which is why I would prefer to see us mauled in SA. If things have to get worse to get better then so be it. The worst outcome would be for McCullum, Hesson & Co to interpret any kind of silver lining that allows them to gloss over how bad the situation is. Hesson is no international coach. He must go, along with the administration who appointed him. McCullum is no international batsman, let alone captain. His bowler management in all 3 T20's was useless, as his game sense as a batsman always is. The team selection is abysmal. Watling should have stayed for the tests in Sri Lanka after his ODI form, madness they sent him home and kept going with Franklin... complete insanity that they then took him to SA. I presume Neesham is his understudy? A plaster on a festering wound wont fix anything, so bring on the carnage then get out the broom.

  • hamish on December 27, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    Surlycynic - that is a brilliant comment! Baz's comments about a couple of young guys learning something has 'commical' written all over it! Of course they did - it would be expected.... What about the top order?? Our failings since the 'Flem, Astle & co' era has been the top order and the excuses are the same and involve the same 'senior' players! Comical Ali has been usurped by Commical Baz!!!!

  • Ivan on December 27, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    You can always judge a cricketing nation by it's performances over time. So, once all the existing squabbling has been put to bed, I'm sure we will see the Black Caps punching above their weight once again. It is always a pleasure to watch them, playing the game in a good spirit and not partaking of the distasteful sledging we are often forced to witness.

    Regarding Brendan McCallum, he has rarely lived up to expectations (considering his talents) but I wouldn't like his job. Please, he has to say something after the game so we shouldn't be quite so judgmental.

    NZ will just have to be patient for a while, I'm afraid.

  • des on December 27, 2012, 9:47 GMT

    McCullum reminds me a bit of that 'Comical Ali' spokesman in Iraq who kept insisting that the Iraqis were routing the Americans even as tanks rolled into Baghdad behind him.

  • Dennis on December 27, 2012, 0:06 GMT

    Good question yetigoat why is he in the team ? Otago has been the laughing stock of FC cricket in NZ for the past 30 years ,A team that is usually full of rejects from other provinces ,that has never won anything bar one T 20 comp a couple of years ago ,and now they have 3 players deemed good enough in the team .Neesham may be promising but hasn,t shown it yet ,but seems to have got into the team somehow - shouldn't u have to score some runs to make any team .after all he was surplus to requirements at Auckland behind De Grandhomme and Munro ,Sadly I think u are right .I know some one will disagree with us .

  • Che on December 26, 2012, 23:25 GMT

    So according to McCullum the young players now know what is required to play international cricket. So now all NZ need is for the senior players like McCullum to learn off the youngsters so they too can know what is required to play at international level. Considering T20 is the only format McCullum is any good at and in this series he averaged 16 you really have to wonder how he holds onto his spot in the team. Worst NZ captain ever!

  • adam on December 26, 2012, 23:01 GMT

    NZ were awful. One blazing knock from Guptill is all they can take from this series. There is no progression and no encouragement. McCullum did nothing, and that has been a problem in this side for a long time. The bowling was dreadful. The fielding was appalling at times. And forget the new guys, what about the established players? Both McCullums, Franklin, Nicol, these guys just don't offer anything. I am so sick of McCullum's bullcrap spin. He's sugarcoated his own disappointing career for years and now we can look forward to the same delusions regarding the whole disappointing team. I got embarrassed watching Franklin bowl.

  • Steven on December 26, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    Why is Neesham in the team? Is he a pick from the otago mafia that now runs the black caps. Can't bowl, bats in the tail. Why is he there? Also bracewell has promise but as yet is no T20 bowler. Please give him time to learn his craft better. As for baz, it's time he retired and played full time on the t20 circus. NZ would be better of in the long run without his self serving abilities...and please take your mate Mr Hesson with you