Former Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum believes current skipper Kane Williamson has lost some of his love of captaincy.
McCullum questioned some of Williamson's tactics during the Black Caps' fielding effort against Australia yesterday, especially when Williamson turned to Tom Blundell to bowl, calling that particular decision "staggering" and arguing that the Black Caps "just rolled over".
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Today, McCullum expanded on his critique of Williamson's captaincy, believing his successor as captain isn't enjoying the role as much as prior years.
"He's been a slightly reluctant leader at times and I just noticed a bit of a trend where he doesn't look to me as though he's really enjoying the role as much as what he has in the past. And that can be a build-up of many things and playing Australia in Australia can be one of them," McCullum said on Channel Seven.
McCullum noted that he believes Williamson has done a "magnificent job" in his 30 tests as captain, but stood by his criticism of yesterday's tactics.
"I thought tactically there were a couple of plays which he made yesterday which thought were slightly uncharacteristic of Kane. But our relationship is very strong, he knows that I've got his back and it's just a bit of constructive criticism and he knows that some of those decisions weren't quite right."
The pair caught up this morning before day three began at the MCG, and McCullum revealed what the two spoke about.
"I just tried to remind him to try and play for that young boy who fell in love with the game way back in the early days when he started playing cricket. Sometimes the pressure and the extremities that you get put under at this top level can take a little bit of that enjoyment away and especially as captain how you portray yourself has such a big bearing on the environment.
"One of the points I was trying to make to Kane this morning was that there were 20,000-odd New Zealanders who have travelled from across the ditch to come and watch New Zealand. And even though New Zealand was under an immense amount of pressure the New Zealand national anthem was being belted out from the stands. It's just how proud New Zealand is of this team that he's built, and they don't expect that the New Zealand side is going to win every game. They can understand that this is a tough place to tour.
"But they want to see the team play with a smile on their face, that same positive attitude, and carry themselves in that confident manner and occasionally land a few blows back on the opposition so they know that they've been in a contest."