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Andrew Alderson: Lord's date time to dig deep

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Brendon McCullum. Photo / Getty Images
Brendon McCullum. Photo / Getty Images

Brendon McCullum will perform in front of few more captivated crowds than that at Lord's on June 6.

The New Zealand captain has been chosen by the Marylebone Cricket Club to deliver its annual spirit of cricket lecture. He joins a group of 15, from all walks of cricketing life, who have played, coached, umpired, broadcast, written and sermonised on the game. Richie Benaud, Desmond Tutu and Martin Crowe are among those to articulate their visions of the sport to a transfixed audience.

To these eyes, Kumar Sangakkara delivered the most compelling lecture in 2011. The spirit of cricket resonated on new levels when he described his family sheltering 35 Tamils during the Sri Lankan civil war, and called cricket "so powerful it is capable of transcending war and politics" and "a shared passion that is a source of fun and a force for unity".

McCullum has his work cut out. As the chosen orator he will need to extend beyond the "time of our lives" rhetoric at the World Cup. As a New Zealander and cricket lover, this writer hopes he digs as deep as he did to make the country's first triple century in 2014.

It's no time for cameo soundbites. How affected was he by alleged match-fixing approaches? How did he find the strength to drag New Zealand out of the mire after the Ross Taylor captaincy saga and the Cape Town 45? How did he come up with the captaincy innovations and build the joie de vivre which made New Zealand one of cricket's most popular touring teams?

President John F. Kennedy once said "of those to whom much is given, much shall be required". Please, Brendon, unleash any shackles of stoicism and lay it all out there. This is a forum which your forebears have seized to revitalise the cricketing world.

Previous speakers

2001 Richie Benaud

2002 Barry Richards

2003 Sunil Gavaskar

2004 Clive Lloyd

2005 Geoffrey Boycott

2006 Martin Crowe

2007 Christopher Martin-Jenkins

2008 The Most Reverend Dr Desmond Tutu

2009 Adam Gilchrist

2010 Imran Khan

2011 Kumar Sangakkara

2012 Tony Greig

2013 Simon Taufel

2014 Sir Ian Botham

2015 Brendon McCullum

- NZ Herald

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Covers sport across NZME's print, digital and radio brands.

Andrew writes and broadcasts on cricket and the Olympic disciplines for NZME's print, digital, video and radio platforms. His most recent project followed New Zealand sportspeople competing in Europe during the 2015 northern summer. He has attended four cricket World Cups, three Olympics and regularly works as a correspondent overseas.

Read more by Andrew Alderson

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