Jem Beedoo: Ode to McCullum, who brings theatre to cricket

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Brendon McCullum should be re-nicknamed BOOM.  Photo / Getty Images
Brendon McCullum should be re-nicknamed BOOM. Photo / Getty Images

"Brendon McCullum is a hard-hitter. He's a very explosive batsman." So said a presumed Hindu man on the presumed Hindu street in a documentary from a year or so ago. I agree with him, of course, but he is only 20 per cent right, because Brendon Barrie McCullum is plenty more. He is a leader, gatekeeper, an over-athlete, a superstar. His dynamism is universal.

To witness McCullum on the pitch is to see a genius at play, a wonderfully agile specimen of risk-riddled tactics, derring-do and seal-like acrobatics. He looks bloody aggressive, actually, as he chomps on his chewy, midway through a curse. He bats so aggressively he transforms cricket - not so much in terms of the complexion of a particular game but in packaging the otherwise somnolent sport into something spectacular. You legitimately are involved in a potentially dangerous undertaking as a live fan, when Baz is at the crease. He's a blaze of a man.

He was born to play Twenty20. He is theatre, man, and he's a theatre-man.

But not smarmy, over-grinning theatre with a chorus of bores and a slime of a score. No, his is an adrenalin-pumped, damn-all-the-torpedoes chaotic theatre ostensibly known as T20 cricket. We should really call it Circus Cricket. And Circus Cricket isn't results-oriented inasmuch as it is magic-massaged. Baz isn't results-oriented either, because he understands implicitly: to chase a result is to long for an ending and an ending is expiration, the antithesis of inspiration. Baz sees the wow in now. BOOM should really be his nickname.

It might be said Hindus don't care for results either. Results end up in history and one view is that Hindus scarcely keep history - to them, now is everything, for it contains the past and the future.

Their undying support of T20 in India pumps vibrancy and vitality into an already electric form of the game, as a natural consequence. The deafening adulation these folks proliferate is eclipse-tic, to invent a word. And Baz is both a beneficiary and benefactor of this. To heck with the results.

McCullum's onscreen presence in press conferences is instructive. To look at and listen to, this man resembles more of a pensive songwriter-novelist than a motorcycle of an over-athlete in a sport famous for its dearth of classic athletes.

His impassive face somehow contains the magni-force within. The same magni-force which finds its highest expression in the oval - whether he's batting, keeping, skippering or fielding, he's definitely an athlete-man.

His articulate command of the English language speaks volumes, too, of a studied man, rather than an all-too-typical oaf who can only say da-da.

This gentleman is tattoo-worthy, in more ways than one.

- NZ Herald

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