x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Brendon McCullum wrong choice to lead New Zealand cricket

The batsman's record as captain, whenever he stood in, does not inspire confidence as the Black Caps will likely continue to struggle.

Brendon McCullum, right, is not likely to best Ross Taylor's captaincy record, writes our columnist. Marty Melville / AFP
Brendon McCullum, right, is not likely to best Ross Taylor's captaincy record, writes our columnist. Marty Melville / AFP

Much has been said and written about New Zealand's captaincy saga, but amid all the emotional outpourings, one essential question has been ignored: did the team need the change?

Based on just numbers, it might seem Mike Hesson, the coach, has made the right decision.

New Zealand are eighth in the ICC Test rankings, with only Bangladesh below them. In one-day internationals, they are even below Bangladesh, in ninth, while they are eighth in Twenty20 rankings.

That slide is not recent, though Ross Taylor lost seven of his 13 Tests as captain and won four. He did return with honours from Australia and Sri Lanka, which is a rare in New Zealand cricket and that is why Hesson wanted him to continue as Test captain.

In ODIs, the Black Caps lost 12 of their 20 matches under Taylor and won six. He has a much better record in T20s though, winning six of his 13 matches.

Does Brendon McCullum, the man Hesson had nominated as the limited-overs captain, and will now fulfil all the leadership roles, enjoy better numbers than Taylor? Sadly, no.

He has lost five of his eight ODIs as captain and won three, all against Zimbabwe; in T20s, he has five wins, two against Zimbabwe and one apiece against Scotland and Ireland. That comes from 12 matches and seven defeats. So McCullum, perhaps, is not the change that New Zealand cricket needed at the moment.

And that should explain the collective angst over Hesson's decision.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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