Cricket: McCullum open to moving down the order

By David Leggat In Port Elizabeth

Brendon McCullum's test average is 35.12 over his 72 tests, and 35.77 in his 16 matches as an opening batsman. Photo / Getty Images
Brendon McCullum's test average is 35.12 over his 72 tests, and 35.77 in his 16 matches as an opening batsman. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has left open the prospect of him moving down the batting order when the test series against England starts in March.

McCullum's test average is 35.12 over his 72 tests, and 35.77 in his 16 matches as an opening batsman.

One of his six centuries has come at the top of the order, the marathon 225 against India in November 2010.

However McCullum made it clear in the wake of the second test drubbing by South Africa today that all possibilities would be canvassed to find the best batting group for England.

''Need to look at it," he said of continuing to open.

''I'm not 100 percent on it yet. it's a matter of looking at what's best for the team we put out and getting the right combinations.

''Everything is up for review and once the dust settles on this we will be able to look at it with some clarity."

McCullum, a naturally attacking batsman, subsumed his instincts in the tests. His identified his role against South Africa as being to try and take the sting out of the new ball attack. That meant a different personal batting philosophy.

''Three times I got through the tough periods and three times I was dismissed by (left arm spinner) Robin Peterson. That's obviously frustrating but there's no doubt whatsoever that that approach was right."

That attitude won't change when England arrive either for the ANZ international series, whether or not it's McCullum walking out to open the test innings.

''There's no doubts that is what we're going to have to do against England, confront the new ball with some steel and resolve and application, which allows the middle order players, who are more suited to facing the ball when it isn't new, to prosper later on."

McCullum acknowledged there ''clearly" needs to be ''a little bit of change at some point". However he cautioned against wholesale adjustments.

''I think if we discard the group without the opportunity to implement what they've learned then you're going to go through the same processes over and over again.

''Yes there's nipping and tucking involved in terms of some personnel and trying to find the right balance of who fits where and how best it suits the game plan you're trying to play."

- NZ Herald

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