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Brash, brutal and brilliant to watch, Brendon McCullum can bruise bowling attacks like few other men in international cricket. A wicketkeeper batsman, McCullum has been used throughout the New Zealand batting order, but whenever he arrives at the crease it’s impossible to look away. He muscles balls over both sides of the field and was responsible for getting the IPL off to an electrifying start, lighting up the tournament’s first match with 158 and showing what the format had to offer. And he reprised that style in Tests too striking the fastest century in the format’s history in his final match.
He also became the second man, after Chris Gayle, to score a Twenty20 international century when he brazenly scooped 155kph offerings from Shaun Tait and Dirk Nannes over the wicketkeeper’s head in Christchurch in 2009 10. McCullum describes himself as “brash” and that innings was the proof, but he has also been a key part of New Zealand’s Test team since 2004. In the longer format he began his career at No. 7 and in his second series, entertained the crowd with 96 at Lord’s.
He notched up five of his first six Test centuries in that position, but later in his career he also showed he had another gear and could bat according to the needs of the team: against India in Wellington in 2014,
he compiled a monumental 302 in 775 minutes, the eighth longest innings at the time in terms of minutes. It saved New Zealand the Test from a hopeless position, and McCullum became the first New Zealand batsman to score a triple hundred.
Although Adam Parore’s Test mark of 201 dismissals was within his reach, McCullum shunned the wicketkeeper’s gloves when he took over as captain in all formats at the end of 2012. His succession was anything but smooth, with Ross Taylor opting out of New Zealand’s subsequent tour of South Africa after being replaced in controversial circumstances. However, McCullum slowly moulded New Zealand into a terrific and hugely popular team in all formats, not only in terms of their results but also in the manner in which they played the game: attacking with both bat and ball, but without any of the sledging and needless aggression that is often a part of other teams. Under him, New Zealand reached the World Cup final for the first time, in 2015, and went 13 consecutive home Tests without a defeat.
At the end of 2015,
McCullum announced that the home Test series against Australia would be his last international fixtures. He became the first player to play 100 consecutive Tests from his debut.