McCullum to open batting?

2010-07-23 07:39

Wellington - Brendon McCullum wants to open the batting in cricket Tests for New Zealand after deciding this year to quit his wicketkeeping role.

McCullum, who will have to win his place in the team as a specialist batsman after making the decision to give up the gloves, thinks he would provide New Zealand with an aggressive opening option.

He pointed to Chris Gayle, Virender Sehwag, Tillakaratne Dislan and Matthew Hayden as examples of current Test openers who played a style similar to his own.

"I wouldn't play conventionally. There's a lot of aggressive Test openers around now. It's probably something we haven't really looked at," McCullum told New Zealand media on Friday.

"I'm not saying it's going to work, but I'm going to give it everything I've got to try and make it work."

New Zealand has struggled for many years to find a settled and productive opening partnership and McCullum, who has averaged 34.90 in 52 Tests, is seen to offer the national selectors a new option.

He is thought likely to bat at No. 3 in the order initially but might move to the top of the order if problems persist with the opening partnership.

"One, two or three are probably the same. I don't mind where," McCullum said. "It won't be the stock-standard blunt the ball at the top of the order.

"I've got to stick to my strengths and if we're totally honest it probably hasn't worked in the past, the way we've been playing. Why not try something different?"

McCullum realises that his decision to give up the wicketkeeping role meant he was no longer an automatic selection.

"It's gutsy. You go from being a dead 'cert' in the team to now not knowing whether you'll get selected," he said. "It makes it tough but I'm up for the challenge."

McCullum will not be the first wicketkeeper who has also been a test opener. West Indian Clyde Walcott opened the innings in his first test match against England in 1948.

Alec Stewart did so in Tests for England, Wayne Phillips for Australia, Romesh Kaluwitharana for Sri Lanka, Andy Flower for Zimbabwe and Adam Parore, briefly, for New Zealand.

Adam Gilchrist for Australia, Kumar Sangakkara for Sri Lanka and Kamran Akmal for Pakistan have done so in the limited-overs format.