Cricket: Brendon McCullum's last hurrah

By David Leggat

Brendon McCullum is set for his final swansong in international cricket. Photo / Getty
Brendon McCullum is set for his final swansong in international cricket. Photo / Getty

The last hurrah, part one, is done. Four innings, max, are left before Brendon McCullum is gone from New Zealand cricket.

He doesn't want his last circuit to be about him. Only those with a massive ego would.

McCullum is about team, rather than self and he's never been afraid of risking a miss in pursuing a hit for the team's cause.

Actually he'll pretty chuffed about his farewell to ODI cricket.

In each of his three innings against Australia, he gave the crowds at Eden Park, Westpac Stadium and Seddon Park, a final glimpse, and left them wanting more. Which is no bad way to be remembered.

Consider in those three games, which produced 44, 28 and 47, McCullum faced a grand total of 68 balls for 119 runs. Now ponder this: he hit 13 of those 68 balls for four; nine for six.

Talk about giving the people what they came to see.

The leadup signs hadn't been encouraging. A month off due to a back injury, then a first ball duck, hooking Mohammad Amir to fine leg at Eden Park.

Someone close to McCullum whispered a few days ago of his absolute determination to do it right in the last three days of donning the coloured clothing.

If there was a sense of wanting to give one last piece of himself to the crowds, he achieved that. Indeed there was something fitting about his final three ODI dismissals: trying to dispatch a fine yorker through the covers instead of blocking a class delivery; bowled, moving down the pitch to repeat the smash back down the ground of the previous ball; and caught having sent a ball high back past the bowler with a cross-bat heave.

Now there's only two tests remaining. What chance McCullum, the captain, can steer New Zealand to a series victory? What price McCullum the batsman digging deep for a last big splash?

The first would mean more to him than the latter. If he and his team can pull it off, McCullum will walk away into the next stage of his life a deeply content man.

Brendon McCullum's ODI Career

Matches: 260
Inns: 228
NO: 28
Runs: 6083
Highest score: 166 v Ireland, 2008
Average: 30.41
100s/50s: 5/32

- NZ Herald

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