‘As captain I need more runs’, says Brendon McCullum

Image courtesy of: ABC

“I’m very determined to finish my career in a strong way and leave this team better than when I took over”

After having a very poor series against Bangladesh, where he only averaged 18 with the bat, New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum has admitted that “as captain I need more runs”.

McCullum’s comments come as he continues to recover from his back injury and prepare for New Zealand’s home series against the West Indies and India.

During New Zealand’s tour of Bangladesh, McCullum only managed to score 54 runs in three innings and prior to that, he amassed 31 runs in four innings against England.

His last major contribution came during New Zealand’s home series against England in March, where he scored a half-century in all three Tests.

“As captain I need more runs to have more impact with the message you’re delivering to the group,” McCullum told the New Zealand Herald. “You always want to lead from the front. There’s huge pressure in the next few Tests, not just from the team point of view but the individual as well. I’ll certainly leave no stone unturned. Let’s see how I go and if it doesn’t work out we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

McCullum will now be looking to score some runs in the three-day warm-up match against the West Indians, which gets underway on November 27.

He will then be looking to lead by example during the three-Test series against the West Indies, which begins on December 3 in Dunedin.

“Before I went to Bangladesh I was the fittest and strongest I’ve been and tested off the scales, and still managed to pick up an injury,” McCullum said. “There was complete and utter disappointment. I knew it wasn’t great. That last game [second ODI against Bangladesh], I played on pretty heavy painkillers and that’s not how the game is meant to be played. I was incapable of keeping and was running around like an old man. Knowing I had to leave the tour, leaving the boys behind, was the hardest thing.”

The New Zealand captain also revealed that he experienced a lot of soreness in his back during the national team’s tour of England in May.

“I blew my back out after about 53 overs when I reached to put a helmet down,” he said. “I’d love to still be keeping in Test cricket but it’s just not possible any more. I’m just lucky to be able to make the team as a batter, and some people question that, but I haven’t picked a team throughout my career.”

Even though he is unhappy with the fact that he had to give up wicketkeeping in Test matches, McCullum knows it is the only way he can prolong his international career.

“It’s something I’ve got to look at, and it’s not very nice when it’s what you’ve been doing it for a while,” he said. “It might be either that [finish keeping] or give the game up.

“People think I pick and choose [games to keep wickets] but it’s nothing to do with that. I’ve got a 60-year-old back and if I want to be able to lift my kids at 35 it’s something I’ve got to entertain.”

However, McCullum is now focused on scoring some runs and leading the team up the rankings in all three formats.

“I believe in this group of players and want to make a difference,” McCullum said. “Just because I’ve had a few low scores hasn’t changed my thinking. I’m very determined to finish my career in a strong way and leave this team better than when I took over.”

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