Cricket

Good to be back with the boys: Brendon McCullum

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has admitted that the recent court controversy involving Chris Cairns was not an easy one and was a clear distraction. McCullum, who testified against Cairns in England, has said that after all the distraction he looks forward to taking on Australia at their home. The inspiring captain also admitted that beating Australia in their own backyard was one of the toughest assignments in cricket.

Speaking about the court case, McCullum said, “I had a job to do over there, but now I’m back here and very much focused on this series, three Tests is going to be a huge opportunity for us and a massive challenge as well. “It’s just nice to be around the boys again. I missed that first-class game back home so it’s good to get back into the nets. To a degree it has been a distraction, but it had to be done and now I’m very much just focused on this tour, it’s a huge challenge for us as a team and a new stage in Australian cricket as well. It should be a cracking series.”

New Zealand are scheduled to take on the Prime Minister’s XI in a warm-up game. The PM XI though, comprises of some of the regular names such as Peter Siddle. Potential candidates for the test side such as Usman Khawaja and Joe Burns will also feature in that game, in a bid to audition for the test slots. “It’s going to be good, and for those guys as well they probably haven’t had the volume of cricket they would have wanted,” McCullum said. “So it’s probably a smart move from the Australian selectors as well to include them in this game and it’s going to be good for us as well to have another competitive hit-out leading into the series.

In McCullum’s absence, Tim Southee will be leading the Kiwis against the PM’s XI. “It’s going to give us a good preparation. Obviously I’m not playing tomorrow and Timmy Southee will have the stripes and I’m sure he’ll do an excellent job. So we’ll probably be able to get a little bit more information as well about some of these guys that we haven’t seen as much of as some of the other guys in the team,” McCullum said.

McCullum admitted that Australia was a very good side at home and beating them at home would be a major hurdle. “We’ve got a good team, we’ve played well over the last seven or eight Test series, but Australia in Australia are a very difficult team to play against. Yes they’ve got some changes and they’ve got some new personnel, but they’re also a very, very proud sporting nation and their cricket team has been successful for over two decades now so for us to come here and succeed we’re going to have to play extremely well.”

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