New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum had all the ingredients to become a legend of the game. His superb hand and eye co-ordination with impeccable timing and bat speed made him a force to reckon with on the cricketing field. Nicknamed Bazz, McCullum grew up in a cricketing family with his father Stuart McCullum playing 75 First-Class games. His younger brother Nathan McCullum, who has represented New Zealand on a number of occasions, also played an important role in shaping Brendon’s career.
On his day, Bazz would destroy any bowling attack across the world and wouldn’t think twice if there was a ball to be hit for a six. Already said to be among the best New Zealand cricket has produced, McCullum played 101 consecutive Test matches – a record – before retiring, in which he has scored 12 centuries, of which four were double centuries and one was a triple hundred (302) against India. He is the only Kiwi played to achieve such a feat and by the look of things, the record is going to stay for a while. With over 6,000 Test runs, McCullum was team player and not a one-man show.
However, many considered his game to be cut out for T20 cricket. To support that point, we have to recollect McCullum’s innings for the Kolkata Knight Riders against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the inaugural match of the Indian Premier League in 2008. McCullum’s innings of 158 gave the IPL the thrust it required and, since then, world cricket has never been the same. McCullum is the leading run-scorer in Twenty20 Internationals with 2,140 runs and the only player to have scored 2,000 runs or more. He is also the only cricketer to score two centuries in T20Is as well. In One-Day International cricket, he has scored over 6,000 runs in 260 matches at a strike rate of 96. He is also the first New Zealand captain to take his team to the final of a World Cup in 2015.
He retired from international cricket in February 2016, but continues to be part of T20 leagues around the world. We hope that he considers coming out of retirement and propel New Zealand cricket to greater heights.