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New Zealand wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum has said he nearly turned his back on his country to commit to an entire season of the IPL, before he changed his mind while on holiday in Fiji. McCullum made the revelations in his book Inside Twenty20, co-authored by journalist Dylan Cleaver, in which he talks about the impact of the lucrative Twenty20 tournament.
"I felt I had unfinished business from IPL II. The fact that the tournament did not pan out the way I envisaged had not sat well with me. I desperately wanted to turn it around," McCullum wrote. "I must admit I came bloody close to not signing with New Zealand Cricket. I took a plane to Fiji with my wife, Elissa, for a holiday and to think about what cricket meant to me.
"I had started to question how important cricket was to me ... This issue of signing, or not signing, my NZC contract brought it to a head. I needed to give something up to understand it and in the end what I did not want to give up was my full and utter commitment to New Zealand."
McCullum was one of several star picks of the Kolkata Knight Riders and he set the tournament alight in 2008 with a blazing 158 in Bangalore. The team underperformed under Sourav Ganguly in that season, and McCullum was handed the captaincy in 2009 after coach John Buchanan introduced the controversial multiple-captain theory. It was a rather forgettable season in charge for McCullum as the team finished at the bottom of the table and was the butt of jokes through a popular blog written by an unidentified 'Fake IPL blogger', claiming to be an insider in the team. Kolkata won just three out of 14 games and Ganguly took back the captaincy for the 2010 season.
McCullum, who has a New Zealand record of 208 consecutive ODI appearances, said he began to change his mind after people questioned his commitment to New Zealand cricket. "I get a bit disappointed when I read that I don't give a rat's a*** about playing for my country. The only reason the inference disappoints me is that I know the sacrifice I made to play for New Zealand," he wrote.
"In what other industry would you be expected to take options that cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars?"
The criticism wasn't just directed at him. He also writes about the negative press he and four other New Zealand players received after missing the first ten days of the tour of England in 2008 due to IPL commitments. "Doing something new is not always popular, is it?" he wrote.