Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Richardson: Taking helm a brave move

Brendon McCullum has stuck his neck out in taking on the captaincy of the Black Caps. Photo / Getty Images
Brendon McCullum has stuck his neck out in taking on the captaincy of the Black Caps. Photo / Getty Images

Amid the furore, has anyone stopped to think that Brendon McCullum made a brave decision accepting the Black Caps captaincy?

If I'd been Brendon's adviser, I'd most likely have told him to decline the offer. From a public relations standpoint, that would have made more sense.

Who would want the job right now and to attain it in such a way? Never has the leadership of the Black Caps been such a risky position. Never has a captain needed instant success more than right now. However, he has accepted the role and to me that says a lot about McCullum.

He is the personification of the Black Caps. We know how good he can be; we see occasional glimpses when he is startlingly good but this does not happen enough.

Too often we are left frustrated and angry at irresponsible play, poor decision making and a lack of application, not to mention technical issues that never seem to be ironed out.

McCullum's public image mirrors that of the team. This team cop flak, most of which they deserve. However, the way they deal with it leaves a lot to be desired. They bite back like spoilt brats and that does not endear them to the fans.

But McCullum is misunderstood and misread by the public. Sure, he has a swagger and an air or arrogance but don't be fooled - he's a pretty stand-up sort of bloke.

His only crime is that he believes in himself maybe a bit too much at times, which I believe leads to inconsistency in his performances.

Many think he doesn't care about success for his country but let me tell you ... he cares a great deal. If he didn't, he would not have accepted the captaincy.

No one needs a PR makeover more than Brendon McCullum and had he turned down the captaincy, it would have put to bed any insinuation he had any hand in the move to remove Ross Taylor. It would have been a gesture that made sense in the volatile environment this saga has produced.

By accepting the role, he has stuck his neck out but has also demonstrated he has a strong desire to turn around the fortunes of our cricket team. Once again McCullum has chosen to go for the big play, not the safe play.

What a challenge he now faces. His aggressive and speculating style may be just what is required with this team but if he has some spectacular failures, the public will be on his back in no time, accusing him of playing loose and flippant with our nation's cricketing fortunes.

Good luck is all I can say.

- Herald on Sunday

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Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Hunter Richardson represented New Zealand in 38 Tests from 2000-2004 racking up an impressive 2,776 runs with an average of 44.7. The former Black Cap began his cricketing career as a left-arm spinner but soon realised that his talents lay with the bat. The transition from ball to bat was seamless and Richardson soon made his international debut against Zimbabwe at the age of 29. Known as a stalwart opener, Richardson’s intelligent style of hard-grind batting came at the perfect time for New Zealand cricket and provided much-needed stability for the Black Caps. Apart from being an excellent opening batsman, Mark Richardson was well-known among fans and team mates for his humorous off-pitch antics and friendly interactions with the famous Beige Brigade, with whom he formed a strong relationship. An excellent cricketer with a personable quality, Richardson once remarked that his retiring first-class average was only different to that of Sir Donald Bradman by a decimal point. Mark Richardson retired from all forms of the game in 2004 and continues to write an insightful, thought-provoking column for the New Zealand Herald.

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