It is no secret, and to a point no exaggeration, to say that Brendon McCullum has revolutionised the New Zealand cricket team since becoming captain. His unorthodox captaining style and constant desire to attack the opposition with bat and ball have proved to be the winning formula for the young and fairly inexperienced team he was handed at the beginning of his reign.
Under his leadership, the Blackcaps started stringing together series wins, both home and away — including a very respectable ODI series win against South Africa on their turf in 2014 — as well as leading his team to the final of the 2015 Cricket World Cup: their most successful campaign to date.
Brendon McCullum Shines off the Field for New Zealand
Earlier this year, McCullum, along with New Zealand Coach Mike Hesson, were awarded officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. While McCullum was quick to claim the award reflected his team’s performances during the World Cup as well as their general growth over the years since he became captain, no team would have been able to achieve the change and growth New Zealand has without the healthy leadership they were exposed to.
Recently, McCullum received yet another award when he was named as this year’s recipient of the CMJ Spirit of Cricket Award at Lord’s. The award, named after the highly-respected English cricket journalist Christopher Martin-Jenkins, is awarded to the player who has shown the highest level of fair play, sportsmanship and the worldwide respect for both opposition players and umpires. The award is judged by members of the MCC and the BBC, and McCullum was recognised for his attitude and approach to cricket during the Blackcaps’ tour of England earlier this year.
Adding to what can only be described as a surreal period of cricket for both McCullum and New Zealand, Baz, as he is referred to by his team-mates, has the ability to achieve something that has never happened before in the history of Test cricket.
Currently he has played 94 Test matches uninterrupted since making his Test debut back in 2004. If everything goes to plan, when McCullum steps out to play at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on the 12th of February next year, a Test match against their Tasman rivals, Australia, he will become the first player ever to play 100 Test matches uninterrupted.
Considering the Basin is where McCullum scored New Zealand’s first ever triple hundred innings in Test cricket, it seems like a fitting stage for history once again to be made.