Dec 212015

Brendon McCullum has announced his retirement from the Black Caps, with February’s two Tests against Australia set to be his last.

The New Zealand captain will address the media this afternoon in Christchurch, with McCullum calling time on his career before the world Twenty20 in India in March.

His last match for New Zealand will be the Test against Australia at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, which starts on February 20.

McCullum is expected to miss some of the upcoming One Day Internationals against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which begin with the Black Caps hosting Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval, Christchurch on Boxing Day.


Speculation has been mounting around the 34-year-old’s future, and it’s expected that McCullum with hand the captaincy over to Kane Williamson. 

McCullum is closing in on a world-record 100th successive Test match and will hit the milestone against Australia at the Basin Reserve on February 12.

New Zealand will then host Australia in the second match in Christchurch from February 20.

McCullum has scored 11, his career-defining score came against India at the Basin Reserve in 2014 when he scored 302 runs to save the Black Caps from defeat.

In his 172 Test innings, McCullum has scored 6273 runs to average 38.48 with the bat. He made his Test debut in 2004 against South Africa, eventually moving on to become captain in late 2012 when he took over from Ross Taylor.

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Dec 212015
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Dec 212015
Brendon McCullum on retirement: 'All good things must come to an end'

Brendon McCullum has confirmed his retirement from all international cricket after the Test series against Australia.

The 34-year-old’s last match for New Zealand will be against Australia in a Test match at Hagley Oval, Christchurch starting on February 20.

McCullum will become the first cricketer to play 100 consecutive Tests when he takes the field against Australia in Wellington on February 12.

The only New Zealander to score a Test triple-century, the former wicketkeeper has also played 254 ODIs and 71 international T20 matches. 

McCullum said he wanted to delay the announcement on his retirement, but had to act early with squads being named for the upcoming World Twenty20 in India.

“The schedule for naming the ICC World T20 squads means I couldn’t have managed this without causing a lot of confusion and speculation – something I was keen to avoid,” said McCullum.

“I’ve been incredibly lucky to represent New Zealand for a long, long time. I’ve spent much of my adult life as a Black Cap and touring the world and getting the opportunity to play with a group of guys and represent their country.

“Not many get that opportunity and I feel incredibility proud to have done it for as long as I have.”

“I love playing cricket, but I guess all good things must come to an end. I’ve had a great time at the top of an international sport, but I know at some stage that has to come to an end and has to finish. I think it’s nice while you’re still contributing to the team and you’re still in a position where you can make these decisions as well.

“I think the team is just about ready for the next person to take over as well and I’ll certainly be supporting them from the sidelines.”

McCullum waved away suggestions his body was telling him it’s time to leave the game.

“My body has been a little bit sore for a while, but that’s just international sport, you’re always going to be a bit stiff and sore when you play at the top for as long as you do. In the end, the time has come and you have to move on.”

He went on to snub suggestions that the Chris Cairns saga played any part in his decision.

While adding the current crop of Black Caps is the best team he’s been a part of, he also credit the spirit in which the team play the game.

“The results and that are great, and that’s what you get judged on, but also I think the development and emergence of the people within the group, and the culture within the group, is one of the things to be probably most proud of.

“I’ve said it time and time again, but you would happily introduce any one of the guys in group, support staff as well, to anyone in world. They are tremendous ambassadors for New Zealand and for cricket in general and they play the game in the right spirits.

“It’s been a pleasure to play with those guys and to be able to lead them as well.”

McCullum noted that he wanted to retire on New Zealand soil, saying there is “a bit of romance” finishing his career in front of his own fans.

Kane Williamson will captain the Black Caps at the World Twenty20 tournament.




Matches: 99 (all consecutive)

Runs: 6273

Centuries: 11

Average: 38.48

Highest score: 302, v India, Wellington, 2014

Catches: 194

Stumpings: 11


Matches: 254

Runs: 5909

Average: 30.30

Strike rate: 95.03

Highest score: 166, v Ireland, Aberdeen, 2008

Catches: 258

Stumpings: 15


Matches: 71

Runs: 2140

Average: 35.66

Strike rate: 136.21

Highest score: 123, v Bangladesh, Pallekele, 2012

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Dec 212015
Opinion: A message for McCullum's haters

This is a message to the Brendon McCullum haters.

You know who you are. You’re the ones who call talkback radio or rant on Facebook every time you feel like that “bloody overpaid, over-hyped, show pony let us down again.”

Your suffering will finally be over. Today McCullum’s told us the second Test against Australia at Hagley Oval in February will be the last time he dons the black cap.

But before you start celebrating, just take a couple of minutes to reflect on what you’re losing. Because you – we – are losing a lot.

Think back to what this Black Caps side was like before he took over the captaincy, and just consider the role he played in New Zealand’s greatest ever World Cup performance earlier this year, and restoring our pride in our national team. 

In the last year, McCullum has said over and over again his Black Caps team are playing a brand of cricket New Zealanders can be proud of. Who – even you haters – can really argue with that?

We have loved it.

We’ve loved the aggressive approach which he personifies, and spreads through the team through his captaincy.

We’ve loved the way he’s launched his uniquely brutal assaults on opposition attacks. There are others in world cricket that can hit a ball as hard and far as McCullum, but no other batsman takes such a fearless approach to batting, treating the best bowlers in the world with utter contempt.

Sure, sometimes it backfires. We’ve all felt that frustration when he’s come in with the Black Caps 80-odd for 3, and McCullum plays what we might consider a “reckless” shot. We all shook our heads following his three-strikes-an-you’re-out battle with Mitchell Starc in the World Cup final. But we only shook our heads because we know what he can do. McCullum is a gambler, and sometimes the gamble doesn’t pay off.

The fact is, he’s given cricket fans more joy than frustration. More highlights than lowlights.

Now’s the time to remember how we watched with disbelief as he put his body on the line to repeatedly scoop/flick Shaun Tait over his head in a freakish T20 innings of 116 not out against Australia at Jade Stadium in 2010.

It’s time to appreciate how he became an overnight international superstar with a spectacular 158 in the first ever Indian Premier League match. Let’s face it: Brendon McCullum is box office. The IPL was made for players like Brendon McCullum.

Show me one person who wasn’t bursting with pride watching McCullum climb our Everest: a triple century against India at the Basin Reserve. An innings which – in its own weird way – made us all feel like we finally deserved a place at Cricket’s top table. Doesn’t it say something special about McCullum that the most explosive batsman this country’s ever produced, is also our first – and only – batsman to pass the magic 300 mark?

This from a guy some doubted could justify his place in the side as a batsman when he couldn’t continue wicketkeeping. The fact is Brendon McCullum’s body gave up on him long before he decided to give up playing for his country.

One thing you critics cannot doubt his commitment to the black cap. He’s played a world-record 99 consecutive test matches for his country. The letters ONZM at the end of his name are for services to Cricket. Perhaps only in the fullness of time will you be able to appreciate what Brendon McCullum did. On the field, off the field. For us, for the game.

So cricket fans – in particular you haters – I urge you: Enjoy these last few opportunities to watch McCullum. It’s almost guaranteed that over the course of these remaining matches against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia he will frustrate you, again, and delight you, again.

Just enjoy it. Because I guarantee you you’ll miss him when he’s gone.

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Michael Clarke's new book draws criticism

Opinion is divided among former Australian stars over Michael Clarke’s scathing criticism of ex-coaches and teammates in his new book.

The former Australian skipper’s used his Ashes diary to unleash at those who questioned his leadership during this year’s ill-fated series, which proved to be Clarke’s last in the baggy green.

With 28 Test hundreds to his name, Clarke rarely missed at the crease, and he’s certainly hit the target with a series of shots fired in his new book.

The biggest serve is for former coach John Buchanan, who criticised Clarke’s leadership and his understanding of the team culture.

Clarke didn’t hold back in his book.

“I don’t think John knows a thing about the baggy green, having never worn one,” he writes.  “He’s still living off the fact that he coached a team that anyone, even my dog Jerry, could have coached to world domination.”

“I thought that was incredibly harsh,” says Fox Watson.

“There’s no doubt from John Buchanan’s perspective, he certainly wasn’t a cricket skills coach, but sit back and see what John Buchanan did and how he was able to keep those strong personalities and strong egos  around the team – and the majority of them were – kept them moving in the same direction. Which I think, and looking back now, he’s got an incredible skill to be able to do that.”

Clarke’s lined up some old teammates as well.

In August, Andrew Symonds told breakfast TV in Australia that Clarke wasn’t a natural leader, but Pup bites back in his diary.

“This is the guy who turned up drunk to play for his country. It’s pretty rich for him to be throwing rocks.”

Clarke’s also hit back at claims from former Australian opener Matthew Hayden that he once overheard Clarke tell Ricky Ponting he’d hand back his baggy green cap if he was asked to continue fielding at bat-pad.

Clarke dismisses that, saying: “If Ricky had asked me to jump off the Harbour Bridge, I would have jumped. I loved playing for Australia that much.”

Some would say he loves himself even more, but few can argue with his record as Australian skipper.

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