The test series between New Zealand and India has just ended with the Black Caps victorious 1-0. The player of the series by a very long way the New Zealand captain Brendan McCullum. Simply put: there has rarely been a better performance by a batter in a test series of only two matches in length in recent member. For those interested in the statistics, they make compelling reading: 535 runs, highest score of 302, 2 hundreds at an average of 133.75 per innings.
McCullum’s performance in this series goes further than just his batting efforts. Against a more highly ranked outfit, McCullum’s captaincy has been in equal parts aggressive and inspired. In particular his marshalling of his bowlers in the second innings of the first test when the Indians looked favourites to chase down a total of 400 plus was excellent. Additionally, his gritty performance in forestalling a loss that seemed inevitable will only serve to add to the legend that will be written about him in this series.
Long thought of as a, essentially, short form player masquerading in white clothing in the long form of the game his efforts in this series will prove only to solidify his reputation as a quality player across all forms and an excellent leader of his country.
New Zealand’s next test series are both away in the West Indies (after the T20 World Cup) and then at the end of the year against Pakistan (which one assumes will be played in the UAE): these series will present an opportunity for McCullum and the New Zealand team to press for a further jump in the test match rankings and to prove that home success is transferrable to when the Black Caps are travelling which has always been a significant problem in the past for teams from the Land of the Long White Cloud.
Till then, I hope the Black Caps celebrate this series win long and loud into the night. Whilst India is not a great away performer in the red ball form of the game they are, nonetheless, a massive scalp.
A stunning effort from McCullum. I, for one, never had him down as a true test player, seeing him more as somebody who would come in and try to score as many runs as quickly as possible before getting out, so I’m delighted to be proven wrong. Saying that, I seem to have been proven wrong with cricket a lot in the past few months…