“My dad talks about friendships and experiences rather than records” This is something Brendon McCullum’s father told him when he was just starting out cricket. And I think that this is something that Brendon McCullum not only bases his cricket off but also his life. Brendon does not play cricket to make money, or to win records, he plays to enjoy the game and have new experiences. Not only does he hold many records in cricket that are unlikely to be beaten any time soon he is also one of New Zealand’s greatest cricket captains. Brendon McCullum pushed the boundaries in all aspects of his life, in his early years, as a cricketer, and as a cricket captain.
As a child, Brendon was very sporty and most of his time was spent in the outdoors playing sports, a great example of this is the fact that he was in the first 11 for football and cricket and the first 15 for rugby. He had offers to take both rugby and cricket seriously but he chose cricket, And if he didn’t he might have been an all black instead of a blackcap. He did not choose cricket because he was better at it but because when he played sports he played them for fun, and he enjoyed cricket more. He was probably better at rugby considering he was selected over Dan Carter in a secondary schools competition. But his childhood was not as easygoing as you think, His father played cricket for Otago and back then cricketers were not paid nearly enough. Although his family struggled financially cricket was somewhere he could forget about that and just play, like a safe haven from the real world. When Brendon first started he always wanted to be in on the action, when he couldn’t wicketkeep he would field in as close as possible and on more than one occasion he would be hit and get mild concussions, but this did not deter him and to this day he is always in the middle of the game whenever he can be, always making an impact
Although Brendon broke on to the scene as a wicketkeeper he left his mark on cricket as a batsman, although many people just remember him for his demolition of bowling attacks during the world cup, while this was astonishing and an incredible display of his power and abilities this was not his greatest batting performances for the blackcaps. The reason for this was in the world cup he had no risks, if he got out opening the batting he had 9 other players beneath him to come ut to bat after him. Admittedly he had some incredible batting displays in tests batting at 5 such as his 54 ball century against Australia, which to this day is a world record. But I think that the batting performances where he was batting a bit slower, trying to save a test match not win it, was when he was at his best for New Zealand. The best example of this was his 302, this was the first and only triple century by a kiwi, besting Martin Crowe’s innings of 299. when he batted for 647 minutes against India to save the test match and defeat India in a test series, not an easy feat. the reason this was his greatest innings and probably the greatest test innings by a New Zealander because he showed grit and determination, complimented by some classy shots along the way, and maybe a bit of luck as well.
The most successful and well-known part of his career was his captaincy, not only did Brendon lead New Zealand to some of their most successful results ever but he revolutionized the way cricket captains captain, and encouraged his team to use new strategies and tactics to win games. There was a lot of controversy around his captaincy, this was because he had once been vice-captain but he was relieved of this role to focus on his cricket. Ross Taylor was appointed captain not long beforehand, but poor results and a lack of communication between players and captain resulted in him being stood down as captain but continuing to play for New Zealand. The New Zealand public was not happy with this decision, because they thought that Taylor was treated unfairly and was not supported enough by his support team. Despite all this Brendon McCullum still took over the role and made it his own. A true example of this is the 2015 Cricket World Cup, where he led his team from the front by opening the batting, this was something he had not normally done but he stepped up to take on this new role and took NZ to the final with his new aggressive approach to batting and dedication to the team, Although they did not win, the tournament sent out a message to cricket, the nice guys don’t always finish last. During this tournament, Brendon’s commitment was at its most obvious in his fielding, he was always the first to chase after the ball and even if there was a 1% chance of him reaching the ball he would still throw himself over the boundary and this led his team to follow and now, Because of him NZ are usually considered the best fielding team in cricket. Brendon showed his class on and off the field. At the 2015 world cup, the Australians were sledging the Kiwis, later when asked for their motives they said it was because we were ” Too nice ” This is a true example of how Brendon acted.
As you will now know Brendon’s career had his ups and downs, but he pushed through the hard times to become a great cricket captain, and stayed a great person at the same time. He pushed the boundaries of cricket in many ways, with his captaincy and his batting, on and off the field.