McCullum's captaincy hailed

I haven't seen a skipper as aggressive as him, says Hadlee

McCullum's captaincy hailed

Brendon McCullum’s captaincy in this World Cup has been raved all over, even though it has left many people in New Zealand a bit incredulous.

He has been ultra-aggressive in his approach to his batting – strike rate of over 193 runs per 100 balls – but he has been outrageously attacking as a captain. With the kind of bowling unit – Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Adam Milne and Daniel Vettori – that he has, McCullum has set attacking fields, more often than not exhausted his main bowlers by the 30th over or so and has seen Kiwis bowl out five teams in as many matches. Only India have managed to bowl out their opponents in the four matches they have played so far in this World Cup.

While McCullum has been a subject of debate in his home country, two Kiwi stalwarts – Sir Richard Hadlee and Stephen Fleming -- showered praise on the Kiwi skipper while interacting with the media at the Hobbiton movie sets on the outskirts of the city here.

“It’s fair to say, that in my career of 18 years through the 1970s and the 1980s, I didn’t play under a captain as aggressive as Brendon,” said Hadlee when asked if he would have liked to play under a captain like McCullum. “When you’re aggressive and proactive, it can be high risk, it can backfire. At this stage it hasn’t. But, what he is saying to his bowlers, and if I had a captain like that what he would be saying to me is, I back you. I’ll give you the field that you need to get wickets, and do the job. That would’ve been nice in my time, although it didn’t happen. I had some good captains, but Brendon is something a little bit special at the moment,” he explained.

Fleming, himself a captain of great stature in New Zealand, felt that all the plaudits that McCullum was receiving were right. “I think in his over two years as captain he’s helped build a brand of cricket that is aggressive, and in some ways it’s creating the new way to play the ODI game,” he began. “You’re now seeing Michael Clarke, also an excellent captain, do the same. And Dhoni as well, he’s had the bowlers to do it. It’s one thing to have that style, and quite another to create a team that can back it up, and that’s what I think Brendon’s got. But it’s taken a while in the making, but I think you can see the fruits of it.

“He is a naturally aggressive guy, a gambler as well as being talked about, but I think he’s better than that. I think it’s just an aggressive outlook where we want to hit every ball for six, and it’s obviously contagious. You’ve got guys who can get up, whereas in the past we’ve been a little bit conservative. But now we’re seeing a team that’s ready to bleed runs to get wickets and that seems to be the way that the best teams are playing now,” he analysed.
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