Christchurch - The cap may be tattered but
the legacy Brendon McCullum will leave when he calls it quits is of glowing
success, destructive batting, record-setting innings and reshaping the game.
McCullum ends his glorious career after the
second Test against Australia starting in Christchurch on Saturday.
He doubts he will go down as one of
cricket's greats and, taken in isolation, his batting average of a shade more
than 38.00 after 101 Tests suggests he may be right.
But the 34-year-old has never been just a
batsman, nor just a wicketkeeper-batsman in his early days.
Whenever he strode to the middle there was
an expectant murmur in the crowd and doubt among the bowlers.
"I'll never go down as a great player
but I played a role in the team, made some contributions," is how McCullum
"I've been pretty strong about how
I've gone about the style of cricket which I've tried to play throughout my
Just as he has never changed his Test cap
since it was presented to him on the eve of his first Test in 2004, he has
never changed his attack-at-all-cost batting approach.
"That can have its knockers as well
and at the same time it can change a game too, so that's one thing I'll look
back on fondly as I was able to maintain that even through times which were
slightly averse," McCullum said.
That black cap, by his own admission,
"is rancid" after years of use but the brutality of his batting has
gone from strength to strength particularly after he took over as captain in
2012, since when had averaged 45 in Tests.
His long list of achievements include
becoming the second player, after West Indian Chris Gayle, to score a Twenty20
international century. In total, he has 11 Test centuries, five in ODIs and two
Perhaps his best year was 2014, which
included scores of 302, two double centuries and a 195, averaging more than 72
per innings, better than Kumar Sangakkara, Angelo Mathews, Younis Khan and
He is the only player to have hit 200 sixes
in ODIs and 100 in Tests and ahead of his final international, shares the world
Test record for sixes with Adam Gilchrist.
Many consider the dogged and Test-saving
302 his most memorable innings, with his knock coming when New Zealand trailed
India by 246 on the first innings and were 94 for 5 in the second.
It was the first triple-hundred by a New
Zealander and the near 13 hours in the middle proved he could graft when he had
When the popular Ross Taylor was replaced
by McCullum as captain during a tour of Sri Lanka in 2012 it caused an uproar
in New Zealand.
And on the subsequent tour to South Africa
New Zealand slumped to an embarrassing 45 all out in the first innings of the
That failure, McCullum recalls, was the
beginning of a new determination in a side where the captain instilled a need
for players to want to hold their heads high.
In partnership with coach Mike Hesson, he
lifted his and the team's image and turned the New Zealand team to that of a
popular side that played entertaining and aggressive cricket.
New Zealand have lost only eight of 26
"The evolution of the environment and
the performances we have started to put up" rate highly with McCullum who
feels he can look back a "with sense of pride" in what he has
achieved, particularly the camaraderie.
"Even after a loss it's a special
place to be," he said of the New Zealand dressing room.
Last year, New Zealand reached the World
Cup final for the first time and with a performance that was typical McCullum.
He plied his "smash or crash"
approach with the smash coming off with brutal regularity until the final where
he crashed on the third ball and, without their talismanic skipper, New Zealand
McCullum goes into his final Test as New
Zealand's second-highest run-scorer with 6 283 behind Stephen Fleming (7 172),
third on New Zealand's ODI batting list behind Fleming and Nathan Astle with 6
083 and topping the Twenty20 list with 2 140 runs.