Brendon McCullum retires from all forms of cricket

Brendon McCullum has played in a number of T20 leagues around the world. Credit: Twitter/@Bazmccullum

Former New Zealand captain and wicket-keeper, Brendon McCullum announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Monday. Baz, as he is known around the cricket world, said that he would hang up his boots at the conclusion of the Global T20 league in Canada, where he represents the Toronto Nationals. He will no longer participate in the Euro T20 slam.

In his statement, he writes that he does not have it in him to continue making the sacrifices needed to keep playing the game. He retired from international cricket in 2016. For several years, McCullum has been plying his trade in T20 leagues around the world, playing for the likes of Royal Challengers Bangalore, Brisbane Heat, Lahore Qalandars, and Trinbago Knight Riders. McCullum's aggressive style of batting was perfectly suited to T20s as his blazing starts often gave the team a good platform to launch.

The start to his career, however, was not anything to write home about. McCullum made his international debut in 2002, playing in an ODI against a fancied Australia side. He managed only 5 off 15 balls before being run-out. His free-flowing, gung-ho style of batting, however, was not to be contained. He started his career as a wicket-keeper and played that role for many years, but back problems meant that he had to give it up. Over time, he proved that he was more than capable of playing in the team as a pure batsman and his experience meant that he was asked to assume the captaincy.

The crowning moment of his captaincy came when he led an underdog Kiwi side to their first World Cup final in 2015. It was made sweeter by the fact that it was a home tournament. New Zealand ended up losing the final tamely but it was a monumental achievement nonetheless. A large part of the loss was down to the fact that McCullum was deceived by a classic Mitchell Starc yorker in the first over of the game. The talismanic skipper later said that he had waited for that moment, and then screwed it up when it finally arrived. That performance gave New Zealand a different kind of self-belief and they ended up in another World Cup final in 2019. We all know how that ended

McCullum left international cricket in his inimitable style, hitting the fastest Test hundred, off just 54 balls. He beat the record jointly held by Viv Richards and Misbah-ul-Haq, who both hit a Test century off 56 balls. He is probably best remembered for a firecracker of an innings in the inaugural game of the first edition of the IPL, where he scored 158 off 73 balls for the Kolkata Knight Riders. His batting got the world hooked to T20 cricket. He is also the second-highest run-scorer in all T20s, with 9,922 runs to his name; some way off from the 12,808 scored by the Universe Boss, Chris Gayle. 

McCullum's statement was overshadowed by another legend, Dale Steyn, who announced his retirement from Tests a few hours earlier. The good guy that he is, ex-Kiwi skipper McCullum wished his illustrious rival a happy farewell from the longest format of the game.

McCullum was a part of the World Cup commentary team and he has stated that he will continue to be involved with media and coaching. It would indeed be a fairytale finish to see him involved in the New Zealand coaching set-up. The position would give McCullum the opportunity to mentor Kane Williamson, his protege and the cricketing world's favourite son at the moment, as he leads New Zealand to greater heights.

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