WI series a big test for McCullum

New Zealand’s Test series against West Indies could define captain Brendon McCullum’s future with the aggressive batsman battling a chronic back injury and reports suggesting he is contemplating retirement.

The 32-year-old McCullum returned home early from the tour of Bangladesh to receive treatment on his back, which has bothered him for more than two years.

The Dominion Post reported earlier this week that McCullum had two protruding discs in his back and was suffering from arthritis and taking painkillers to get through games.

The first match of the three-Test series on his home ground at University Oval in Dunedin begins on Tuesday and will be his 80th Test since he made his debut against South Africa in 2004.

Apart from the physical discomforts McCullum faces, the series should define his first year in charge of the team and whether they have moved forward under his leadership.

He was promoted to the captaincy late last year when coach Mike Hesson replaced Ross Taylor, which resulted in a highly embarrassing public relations crisis for New Zealand Cricket.

The former wicketkeeper impressed with his aggressive and inventive tactics against England at home earlier this year and resolute batting that solidified the lower-middle order as the side came within one wicket of sealing a series-clinching victory in the third Test at  den Park. New Zealand, however, have failed to win a Test under McCullum.

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