Brendon McCullum tracking well for Black Caps return

Captain Brendon McCullum is recovering well from his back injury and could rejoin the Black Caps squad later this month. Photo/Getty.
Captain Brendon McCullum is recovering well from his back injury and could rejoin the Black Caps squad later this month. Photo/Getty.

Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum is close to overcoming his back injury and could rejoin the squad by the end of January.

Coach Mike Hesson says McCullum's recovery has been progressing well and expects the batsman to return to camp ahead of New Zealand's third and final one day international against Pakistan on January 31.

McCullum damaged his back crashing into advertising hoardings at Christchurch during the second ODI on December 28.

"I expect him back in camp on the 29th, at this stage that's what we're hopeful for," Hesson told Radio Sport today.

"Brendon's had plenty of rehab, he's got back into his boxing which he enjoys and it also helps from a strength perspective.

"So he's travelling well but it is one of those things that can flare up from time to time, but we're pretty confident that he'll be back with us on the 29th."

Hesson is confident his side can secure a two-one Twenty20 series win over the tourists in today's third clash at Westpac Stadium and build upon last Sunday's dominant 10-wicket win in Hamilton.

Listen to the full interview with Mike Hesson on the Crowd Goes Wild Breakfast:

A five day build-up had allowed the team to focus on maintaining their intensity in the field and on improving their bowling late in the innings.

"We talked about being really pleased with the way we fielded in that last game and that's something certainly that we've continued to spend a bit of time on," he said.

"Death bowling is something you can never be too good at so it's something that we continue to try to evolve with different options.

"We'll see if we can improve in those areas and also keep the level in the field and obviously contain some of their power hitters at the back end of the game."

Meanwhile, Hesson is pleased with Ross Taylor's enthusiasm for his new middle-order batting role and believes the change will give greater balance to their line-up.

"He's been pretty invigorate. It's a role that he's played a lot in tournaments around the world but not too much for us.

"We've looked at our middle order and it hasn't probably functioned as well as we'd like and we needed to look at some different options.

"Certainly Ross is experienced at five and that power sort of complements the rest of the group and also giving the younger guys a little bit more freedom to just go out and play rather than have to play in a more pressurised time."

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