x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

McCullum proves he’s the man to revive Black Caps

Brendon McCullum's triple hundred, unprecedented for a New Zealander, revealed the maturity and talent of a man ready to restore New Zealand's cricketing stature, writes Osman Samiuddin.

Brendon McCullum became the first New Zealand cricketer to score 300 runs in a Test on Tuesday. Marty Melville / AFP
Brendon McCullum became the first New Zealand cricketer to score 300 runs in a Test on Tuesday. Marty Melville / AFP

Osman Samiuddin

Could Brendon McCullum be on the verge of instigating a long-awaited and much-needed New Zealand revival?

McCullum was at the heart of New Zealand’s 1-0 series triumph over India, achieved on Tuesday as the second Test ended in a draw, their first over India since Stephen Fleming’s era in 2002.

That he could score runs was not in great doubt, but it is difficult to imagine anyone could have thought him capable of doing so not only in the manner he did across the two Tests – but the sheer scale of it, a double hundred followed by a first-ever triple hundred by a New Zealand player.

The treble will go down as one of the greatest-ever innings in his country, a rearguard to save a Test matched only by Hanif Mohammad all the way back in 1958.

McCullum had far greater attacking instincts to curb; this, remember, was the man responsible for the blitzkrieg that launched the first-ever IPL, a 73-ball 158.

As captain too, it will immediately elevate his status, much required given the clumsy manner in which he was handed the leadership from Ross Taylor.

He has now led New Zealand to two consecutive Test series triumphs, the first time since 2005-06.

There was something pleasingly pragmatic too about the way he ensured the series win was safe before declaring. It might not be fashionable but it was the actions of a man who does what he needs to.

New Zealand need a period of doing that, of not losing Tests and series. They have a bowling attack that will eventually win them more Tests.

They now have a man, it seems, who can lead them as well.

osamiuddin@thenational.ae