Whenever you see a young lad from New Zealand whose attitude can be described as more or less temerarious, embellished in those eye catching inks, you often try and relate them to extreme sport athletes. But then there is Brendon Mccullum, whose truculence has taken the bowlers all over the world to a brutal dystopia of complete ascendance. His stature is revered all throughout the world and his wonders have left us both smitten and predisposed. But even his own brilliance has failed in overcoming the absolute genteel of the man he is off the field. A complete paterfamilias for his nation, Brendon has undergone a paradigm shift from being a reckless youngster to one of the most lionized personalities both in the New Zealand cricket team and the entire cricketing world. So in this edition of Essentially Sports we take you back to the extra-ordinary journey of this magnificent cricketer.
Brendon Barrie Mccullum made his ODI debut as a wicket-keeper batsman against the mighty neighbours- Australia on January 17, 2002. He was far from being an instant hit but his attitude towards the game and his agility behind the stumps kept the selectors interested in him. Brendon took his time and went on to build block by block, taking one step at a time in his international career. He finally caught some of the limelight by taking five from behind the stumps when he was involved in four catches and a stumping against India in Napier in 2002. Brendon was soon conferred with his test call up for the Kiwis in March, 2005 against South Africa in Hamilton. The wait for his first International century was finally over as he went on to score 143 against the Bangladeshis in Dhaka. But it was the series against Australia in 2005 that took this prodigy to a whole new level. It was the first time when Brendon really gave a glimpse of how perilous he can be on his day when he smashed 50 of just 25 balls to take his team to a record run chase against the Aussies in Christchurch. New Zealand was on the verge of discovering their new cricketing sensation.
And then the graph of success has only seen an upward path once he cemented his place in the International squad both in tests and one day. He went on to play 100 consecutive tests for the country being the only player to do so, led his team to 2015 World Cup final scoring 328 runs in the tournament at an astonishing strike rate of 188.50. Brendon as an opener along with the likes of Guptill, helped in allaying any qualms about the opposition or the pitch giving the likes of Taylor and Williamson a chance to play themselves in. His success stories in whites continued to compliment his limited overs heroics as he went on to be the first player for New Zealand to score four double hundreds. And his farewell to the longest format can only be described as a fairy tale, a story that every cricketer concocts for the final step, to come out for one last time on a pitch that isn’t exactly tailored for a merry farewell and then smash the ball to every possible nook and cranny of the ground eventually ending up with fastest test century in the history of the game. But if someone deserves such an epic end to their international saga, it ought to be the New Zealand captain.
But it’s not the records that make this player a very special one; it’s the way he has decided to play the game that separates him from the lot. He truly has been an epitome to the modern day game, a captain who delineates the attitude of the whole team and thus goes on to set up a bastion which thrives on coalescing together. He has carefully moulded in players with the same aggressive disposition and formed a team which goes out there and dictates the situation according to their playing style rather than playing according to what the situation demands. They don’t care if they are in whites or colours, whether they play 50 overs or get bundled out in 40, they come out and start taking on the opposition. This cannot make them infallible, but they are willing to take the risk. Many may call this as a short term remedy, which cannot serve a team for the longer period, but Brendon and company have managed to break away the shibboleths and master their truculence. And as a cricket spectator, this doesn’t seems to hurt the game, as it makes it much more entertaining for the spectators and can be conceived as a new brand which pervades to various nations who don’t play the game.
Well it has been for from being a serendipitous journey for the captain different. He has grappled with various setbacks that every captain needs to face in his niche. Behind the veneers of his placid smiles lies the travails of clambering a team, that lacked a genuine fatherly figure or an exceptional super star, back to its days of glory. He gnaws at the opposition and doesn’t carry any appendages about past failures, his indomitability can only be appreciated by his penchant of backing himself to play the shots that might have got him out in the past. He is a man who stands for everything passionate about the game, who is engulfed with the right spirits, and believes in his own hard work more than any fate to orchestrate his success. He can look back at the last 14 years with the same sense of pride and honour that has fuelled him, all along his wonderful career. We take this opportunity to thank a complete master of his trade who has provided us with copious amount of memories and has decided to bid adieu the grand stage in the same sanguine manner. The Game has only been adorned from your presence and would always be indebted to your discernible services.