BBL07: Are Brisbane getting enough Heat out of Brendon McCullum?

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

 , , ,

34 Have your say

    This upcoming block of Big Bash League games includes two fixtures for the Brisbane Heat, which makes this the perfect time to examine the output of their marquee signing and captain, Brendon McCullum.

    The Heat announced the former New Zealand skipper as their main man for three seasons back in 2014-15, after a disastrous fourth edition of the BBL in which they ran last with just two wins.

    McCullum then re-signed with the Heat for another two seasons just a week before the start of BBL07, the new deal taking him through to the end of BBL09 in 2019-20. With fellow ‘bash brother’ Chris Lynn signing what the Heat themselves labelled “the biggest contract in Big Bash League history”, and rumoured to be worth well over $1 Million  through to end of the 2021-22 summer, there’s no prizes for guessing Brisbane’s gameplan for the new few years.

    As of Sunday night, McCullum’s Heat BBL tally sits at 435 runs from 15 matches, at an average of 31.1 and with a strike rate of 152.09. On average, he faces 19 balls per innings, and he’s posted three fifties in fifteen innings.

    Last summer, he was Brisbane’s leading run-scorer for BBL06, belting 323 runs at 46.1 and at better than 170 runs for every hundred balls faced.

    This year, not so much. In his four digs to date, it’s 40, 5, 5, and 15 against Adelaide on New Year’s Eve. And while you cold put that down to a slow start to the season, it’s actually the latest segment of a very up and down run that’s been going on all through 2017.

    His Pakistan Super League stint in February was lean, with only three scores above 20; it was better during the IPL, with two fifties among 319 runs at 29 with a strike rate of 147. The runs dried up again during the T20 Blast in England, however, with two knocks of 88 and 63 and just one of his remaining seven innings getting past 10.

    Brisbane Heat captain Brendon McCullum loves the Twenty20 format

    His Caribbean Premier League trip was much better; 335 at 55.8, and with three fifties and five scores under 19. But then his Bangladesh Premier League campaign was saved by two fifties in his last two innings; prior to that, it was just two scores above 25 in ten innings, and with four of them below 6.

    He may yet come good in BBL07, but his pre-tournament extension for another few seasons couldn’t have been timed better.

    1518 runs at 29.2 looks decent on the surface, especially at a strike rate of 142.13. But there are just eleven fifties in 58 innings, and 34 scores under 25.

    And I just wonder, is his record really reflecting his marquee status? And is 65 runs in four digs at 16 really good enough for a big money opener?

    BBL07 table

    After Perth beat the Sydney Sixers by six wickets on Monday night over in the west, the Big Bash League table looks this way.

    PERTH 8, ADELAIDE 6, MELBOURNE RENEGADES 4, SYDNEY THUNDER 4; Brisbane 4, Hobart 2, Sydney Sixers 0, Melbourne Stars 0.

    Upcoming games

    TUESDAY – GAME 15: Melbourne Stars v Brisbane Heat, MCG: A flip of a coin game, if ever there was. Neither the Stars or Heat are in super nick right at the moment, and both strongly rely on a couple of big names: Pietersen and Maxwell for the Stars, and McCullum and Lynn for the Heat.

    And I’ve got some thoughts on McCullum’s output for Brisbane over the last few seasons, but I’ll save that for another day. I reckon bowling decides this; the Heat will be confident after beating the Stars back on December 20, but both sides have had major batting collapses since. Whoever bowls best wins.

    Tip – Stars; I think there’s a bit cleverer subtlety around the Stoinis-Zampa-Beer-Hastings attack.


    WEDNESDAY – GAME 16: Melbourne Renegades v Sydney Sixers; Kardinia Park, Geelong: The #BBL07 roadshow rolls into another new venue, with Geelong following Launceston last Saturday in making its BBL debut. The Renegades are ticking along petty nicely despite Finch not yet firing, and their bowling attack has taken 23 wickets in three games to date.

    The Sixers, on the other hand, have lost 27 wickets in their three games, while only taking twelve themselves.

    Tip – Renegades, and comfortably.

    THURSDAY – GAME 17: Hobart Hurricanes v Adelaide Strikers, Bellerive Oval: The Hurricanes look like they’re in a bit of a tight spot now, with their batting misfiring and their bowling not going much better.

    The Strikers, by comparison, have won three from three, and have been pretty convincing at that: they’ve bowled the Thunder and Heat out, and had the Sixers eight down. Might be another tough night for the home side.

    Tip – Strikers; not sure how the ‘Canes can get off the bottom of the table in this one.

    FRIDAY – GAME 18: Brisbane Heat v Perth Scorchers, the ‘Gabba: This game would be a great time for McCullum to start easing my concerns, and depending how things went for them in Melbourne on Tuesday night, this game could be nearing ‘must win’ terms for the Heat. Perth have had an unbeaten start to their campaign and shown already why so many had starting the BBL as favourites, or at the very least, making the semis.

    Is this their annual stumble?

    Tip – Heat, in a bit of an upset.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (34)

    • January 2nd 2018 @ 9:00am
      Targa said | January 2nd 2018 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      Shame he’s not playing for his home team, the Otago Volts, in the T20 Super Smash. The winless Volts are bottom of the table and the young team could learn plenty from the old dog.

      • January 2nd 2018 @ 9:39am
        Internal Fixation said | January 2nd 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        On that note – if expansion is being looked at isn’t an NZ team a good way to go. Play 2 in Auckland, and a match in Christchurch and Wellington. Earlier start for Aussie East coast time zone means no TV clashes.

        Last time I checked KFC is also eaten a lot in NZud 🙂

        • January 2nd 2018 @ 9:44am
          jamesb said | January 2nd 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

          But would Australian audiences be interested in watching a NZ team?

          • January 2nd 2018 @ 12:11pm
            Vissie said | January 2nd 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

            James, BBL is rated as the premier 20/20 tournament in the world. It now has an international audience.

        • January 2nd 2018 @ 9:52am
          Brainstrust said | January 2nd 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

          adding New Zealand teams who would bring in much lower tv dollars per team and add to travel costs.
          If New Zealand don’t want Pacific Island teams in super rugby becuase of TV money,
          why should Cricket Australia share their vastly bigger TV revenue with them.
          All you hear out of super rugby is how much Tv money each nation provides.
          In this case it would be about 10 to 1 in favour of Australia not the 1 to 0.9 ratio that sets off NZ super rugby fans crying subsidy.

          • January 4th 2018 @ 11:36am
            Jacko said | January 4th 2018 @ 11:36am | ! Report

            Brainstrust the Pacific Islands have no money….Its not the TV rights…They simply dont have decent fields or stadiums that can present well with Audiences and players alike. It would need to be totally paid for by others

        • Columnist

          January 2nd 2018 @ 11:03am
          Brett McKay said | January 2nd 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

          Because “an NZ team” would invariably want their best players, in which case we’d be compromising NZ’s own domestic products and ability to earn TV money just so the Australian product can grow.

          We’d be literally stealing from their nest to feather our own…

          • January 2nd 2018 @ 11:19am
            Targa said | January 2nd 2018 @ 11:19am | ! Report

            NZ is 2nd in the world T20 rankings while Australia is languishing down at no7. We could allow a couple of Australian teams to play in the Burger King (Hungry Jacks to Aussies) Super Smash, but they might lower the standard as they do in Super Rugby.

            • January 2nd 2018 @ 11:30am
              jamesb said | January 2nd 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

              The reason why they are “languishing down at no7” is because the Australian side hardly plays twenty/20, and when they do, it’s often depleted. You had the farcical situation last year where there was two Australian sides playing at the same time, one preparing in India, the other playing against Sri Lanka.

            • Columnist

              January 2nd 2018 @ 11:38am
              Brett McKay said | January 2nd 2018 @ 11:38am | ! Report

              Well that’s one way to have a meaningful conversation, Targa…

              • January 2nd 2018 @ 11:58am
                Targa said | January 2nd 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

                Just a bit of New Year (cheer) stirring for the Anzac cousins. All in jest.Make sure you give the Poms a good thrashing in Sydney

              • Columnist

                January 2nd 2018 @ 12:11pm
                Brett McKay said | January 2nd 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

                Fair enough…

          • January 2nd 2018 @ 7:09pm
            Internal Fixation said | January 2nd 2018 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

            That said the Aussie domestic product with 1 or even 2 kiwi teams may be better for NZ Cricket in terms of a slice of the next BBL deal.

    • Roar Guru

      January 2nd 2018 @ 9:57am
      DingoGray said | January 2nd 2018 @ 9:57am | ! Report

      His performance with the bat haven’t been great.

      I think against the Strikers he didn’t have much choose with the fact they are were 4/15!

      However his captaincy and fielding has been top notch! He will come good.

      • Columnist

        January 2nd 2018 @ 11:07am
        Brett McKay said | January 2nd 2018 @ 11:07am | ! Report

        No, that’s quite true Dingo, but at 4/15, McCullum needed to go deep into the innings, Instead he was the sixth wicket to fall, in the 11th over, leaving them further in the mire 6/56.

        I absolutely agree about the his captaincy and everything else he provides – and maybe Brisbane would argue it’s not just runs they need from him, and that he’s more than making up for it in other areas…

    • January 2nd 2018 @ 9:59am
      Brainstrust said | January 2nd 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

      I would like to see a recent analysis of Chris Gayles recent performance before being told on this website that he has got to be offered another contract in multiple recent articles and no one ever complained when he was underperforming. Mcullum might be over the hill, but previous to this season he was one of the top performers in the BBL. I would think the million dollar deal for Chris Lynn is the total value of the contract is over the million mark, the BBL is half the length of the IPL and much smaller financially why would one player get a million for a months effort.

      • Columnist

        January 2nd 2018 @ 11:12am
        Brett McKay said | January 2nd 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

        I can recall plenty of criticism of Gayle’s performances in his last few seasons, Brainstrust, in that he really wasn’t doing a lot – and that was before his character took over.

        And you are right about Lynn’s contract, that’s my error which I’ve corrected. Thanks for pointing it out..

    • January 2nd 2018 @ 10:29am
      RUSerious said | January 2nd 2018 @ 10:29am | ! Report

      Pretty harsh brett. His stats are slightly underwhelming but you failed to mention that he had a serious injury during CPL and what he brings to the team in terms of captaincy. Also the 2 innings that “saved” his BPL came in the semi and final. I think the Heat would be content if he were to repeat that in BBL this year.

      • Columnist

        January 2nd 2018 @ 11:41am
        Brett McKay said | January 2nd 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

        And I don’t doubt any of that, RUS. But it’s also clear he’s very up and down, highlighted by the PSL, IPL, and T20B stints before the CPL.

        I hope he does come good, but it’s still reasonable to look into things like I have…

    • Roar Guru

      January 2nd 2018 @ 10:37am
      Michael Keeffe said | January 2nd 2018 @ 10:37am | ! Report

      I think ideally you want one of your top 3 getting 50+ each game. McCullum’s 40 in the first game was good, not quite a 50+ but still got the heat in a great position. He’ll need at least two 50+ scores in the 6 game run to the finals.

      Having said all that what he brings to the team with his captaincy is huge for the Heat and can’t be discounted in the value he brings to the team.

      • Columnist

        January 2nd 2018 @ 11:43am
        Brett McKay said | January 2nd 2018 @ 11:43am | ! Report

        Because Lynn is still on the comeback from injury Michael, it’s probably a case now of if McCullum fires, Brisbane make the semis. The likes of Burns and Ross can’t be performing rescue missions from 2/15 or 3/30; the Heat need more from their top order, like you say..

    • January 2nd 2018 @ 2:13pm
      I ate pies said | January 2nd 2018 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

      McCullum has never been anything more than a cow-shot slogger. Give him a regular sized bat and a full sized field and he’d struggle to be a state cricketer.

      • January 2nd 2018 @ 7:11pm
        Jacko said | January 2nd 2018 @ 7:11pm | ! Report

        Yeah …Fastest ever century in Test cricket….320 odd catches…130 odd stumpings…6500 test runs at 34…3 double centries in 1 season….12 test centries……most test 6s in history

        What a cow-shot player eh

        Then he had a great ODI career and T20 Career and was the captain for a fair time as well

        Funny how people judge isnt it…Far superior to Healy. Wade etc but a cow-slogger eh?

        • January 4th 2018 @ 9:08am
          I ate pies said | January 4th 2018 @ 9:08am | ! Report

          Yep, filthy slogger. Catches and stumpings are irrelevant to the fact that he’s slogger too. If fact, anyone who sticks their front foot out to the side to allow them to swing to mid wicket is a slogger; it’s actually pretty much slogger personified. They only get away with it because they play on roads.

          • January 4th 2018 @ 11:54am
            Jacko said | January 4th 2018 @ 11:54am | ! Report

            What a load of dribble…..Only play on roads and he is only a slogger……His record proves you totally incorrect…

            Back up your arguement with facts…..I did but you just attack with generalizations…..Its like saying Bradman was only any good because his opposition was weak throughout his career

    , , ,