New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum possibly felt “a bit dusty” on Thursday evening. The 34-year-old McCullum bid adieu to the game which he played for 12 years with head held high. His side lost the match to Australia by seven wickets and regained the numero uno spot in ICC World Test Rankings.
McCullum’s swan song came to an end after a chronic back injury that forced him to take a call on his career.
“The time’s right. And now I walk away comfortable with my decision and looking forward to the next stage of my life,” McCullum told reporters on Wednesday.
“You walk away knowing that you’ve been able to front up and try to go out there and get a performance on the board and I guess now you’re a little bit relieved.”
McCullum, who is nicknamed Bazz, has outstanding reflection and great feet work with that he ripped apart any attack on his day.
It was perhaps somewhat fitting that he was in the mood in his last innings, rescuing his side from 32 for 3 on the first day to blast the fastest Test century ever witnessed, from 54 balls.
McCullum has acknowledged that he would not go down as the best batsman or even cricketer in New Zealand’s history and the statistics prove that.
In 101 consecutive Test matches, he finished with 6, 453 runs, including 12 centuries, 31 half-centuries and a Test average of 38.68.
However, his influence on the game since he assumed the captaincy in early 2013 is what many believe to be his legacy.
He is the first Kiwi to score a triple hundred. He did that against India in New Zealand’s first innings in 2014 to deny the visitors a Test win.
The important thing is that he instilled an aggressive brand of cricket in the team and brought the crowds to the game who were used to years of mediocrity from NZ cricket team.
Accolades came from country’s first cricket legend
Former seamer Richard Hadlee credited the popularity of the game to McCullum and his team. “Cricket in New Zealand is on a tremendous high.” “That’s down to you fellows and the way you play the game.”
“Brendon, it is an end to your career, the end of an era. You’ve been an inspirational captain. As the great Viv Richards said, you’re the type of player that puts bums on seats, people will come down to watch you’ and I think that’s a tremendous tribute.”
McCullum admitted that he was disappointed to end his career with a series loss but he would still celebrate “ with plenty of beers” alongside his teammates before he contemplated his future on Thursday.
“I’ll be a bit dusty, I’d say. I’ve got 14 years to make up for,” he laughed when asked how he would wake up on the morning after the night before. “I’ve got not much on the go. A bit of golf, a bit of racing, probably play some darts.
“I’ll just spend some time with the family and take a breath as well. It’s been a pretty arduous run.”
However, he was unsure how he would be judged but hoped he made a difference and restored some pride in the team.
“To a degree, you hope you’re kind of remembered as a guy who played with a lot of passion, a lot of pride in playing for his country and played the game for the right reasons as well,” he said.
Watch McCullum’s farewell speech