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Farewell to the Black Caps' great maverick

Brendon McCullum will be playing in the Pakistan Super League, which is in its second season. (AFP PHOTO / Michael Bradley)
Roar Rookie
28th February, 2016
5

If batting greatness depends on the adaptability to suit different situations, this Kiwi dynamite can claim little of that honour. Impregnable defence he never had. More often than not he made his own luck through his audacious, offensive strategy.

But then Brendon McCullum was nothing if not a marvellous maverick.

It’s trite to say McCullum redefined our perspective of batting in all forms of the game. With him it was invariably a case of explosive, exhilarating hitting from the word go. It mattered little to this champion cricketer what form of the game he was wielding the willow.

That he batted with such unprecedented nonchalance for 100 Tests bears ample testimony to his powers of endurance. The man was synonymous with fearlessness. The context, the contest or the kudos of the bowlers – nothing was allowed to dilute his out-and-out aggression, both as captain and cricketer.

The normal fear of failure which blotted the style of so many international players did not prey on him. Known for his impulsive, uninhibited stroke-play, he always gave the opposition bowlers a chance, but then not too many players have proved as much a terror. No wonder he admired the great Viv Richards, the ultimate champion of explosive batting.

This batting iconoclast lasted his course entertaining the masses whenever he played. He trotted around on the pitch with a mind uncluttered by the usual pressures. In a marked deviation from their normal understated ways, the Black Caps oozed self-belief, even belligerence, and surged ahead during his tenure as the leader.

He was never a purist’s delight, though the paying public loved the incredible innovation and breath-taking improvisation that marked his batting.

His feverish pace was not blind fury, but rather the consequence of a deliberate strategy to upset the plans of the opposition, and a desire to dominate bowlers. There was a method in his madness, as he displayed in the triple century in a home Test against India. McCullum demonstrated a totally different facet of his prowess in that epic innings, showing he was no one-trick pony as he decimated India’s bowling.

But it was the shortest form of the game where he was most spectacular. During a T20 international in 2010 at Lancaster Park, Christchurch, he demolished the Aussie pacers in a sensational batting exhibition, scoring a century at his versatile best.

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