Brendon McCullum has been ruled out of the remainder of the HRV Cup due to a back injury that could affect his participation for the early part of the home series against Pakistan. McCullum had injured his back during the second Test against India, where he scored a double-century to secure a draw, but played in the third Test and three of the five ODIs that followed.
An Otago association statement, as reported in the New Zealand Herald, said the decision to rule out McCullum was "the most common-sense approach for Brendon to rest to give him the best possible opportunity of taking a full part in the upcoming international series". McCullum has played just one HRV Cup game for Otago since returning from India. The series against Pakistan comprises three Twenty20s, two Tests and six ODIs, with the first Twenty20 game to be played on Boxing Day in Auckland.
McCullum opened the batting for New Zealand in both the Tests and the ODIs on the tour of India and captain Daniel Vettori suggested he could keep his place at the top of the order while Jesse Ryder, a regular opener, could be pushed down, given his sound ability against spin. The practice earlier had been to play McCullum down the order when New Zealand's batting was experiencing a low.
"I do feel sorry for Brendon because it's the first suggestion [that is made]," Vettori was quoted by the New Zealand Herald as saying. "It's tough on him and I think he's a real asset at the top of the order in the World Cup. Jesse is such a good player of spin, and with his finishing qualities as well we've put a little more thought into him batting at No 4 in the one-dayers.