I was one of the faces in a huge crowd of 93,013 in Melbourne Cricket Ground at 2015 World Cup Final played between Australia and New Zealand. The roar that went up when the ball cannoned Brendon McCullum’s off stump is still vivid and alive in my memory setting up the tone for the match. Australia lifted the World Cup but McCullum’s crew left an imprint on people’s heart for giving them a brand of Cricket to chant with excitement and keeping their heartbeats at the threshold.
Brendon McCullum, a placid man who surprised the Cricket gurus and enthusiasts with his unorthodox style of leadership. He was a wise man who knew how to lay the foundation which will set up a merit for his team to look up to. A brave man who never flinched during the hard times on the Cricket field; he took a delight in facing the thunderbolts and bullets fired right at him. A covetous man who was hungry to annihilate the opposition team for victories and an adventurous man whose fearlessness of gambling on himself built a momentum for his team to ride on. Kyle Mills an ex Kiwi player isn’t wrong in calling him “the leader of men.”
Neither was he a complete batsman nor a perfect captain rather did he represented a flawed batter who batted with vigor and a brave captain who led a team by example where the Kiwi’s trait, humility undoubtedly outshone.
During the 2015 World Cup, he produced some magical innings. The sort of innings which glued you on whether you are in a ground relishing his strokes or watching it on your T.V screens. It’s sinful to have missed those captivating innings of this electrifying player. The demonic speed of his hands that produced the heavenly sumptuous shots was a sheer joy to watch.
He played all three formats of the game and quite well adapted to all of them. His breathtaking century against Australia in the T20 game where he played the staggering scoop shots is reminiscent of something overwhelming. Scooping a 155km/h ball over the keeper’s head for a six is a sign of a player with immense courage and talent. (I’ve put courage first, as for a talent like such you have to be courageous foremost). In the 5o over format, he has only five centuries to his name, but those innings that he produced in the short span during his time on the crease are undeniably incredible. He changed the form of the 50 overs game which was in trouble and made it enliven like Quintin Tarantinos’s flicks. His style of play brought the crowd back into the stadiums to devour One-Day Cricket.
There was a commitment that shone when he threw himself in the air to save the boundary. He sprinted like a cheetah and hunted the ball like a caracal slapping a bird in flight.
The skill, grit, focus and the way McCullum applied himself in the Test match against India when he scored a triple century in the second innings was simply an innings that would go down as one of the best in Cricket books. This was the first time a New Zealand player entered the 300 club and boy wasn’t it an entrance worth marveling.
On the field, watching McCullum was like witnessing an acrobat performing astounding stunts. His mystifying yet exemplary field placements kept both the batsman and the crowd in an unpredictability which he had forethought. There was a commitment that shone when he threw himself in the air to save the boundary. He sprinted like a cheetah and hunted the ball like a caracal slapping a bird in flight.
Brendon McCullum played his last One-Day innings against Australia and got out trying to heave the ball in his maverick flair. The oomph and effulgence that he brought to this game are an inextinguishable affair Cricket and its devotees will savor. Neither was he a complete batsman nor a perfect captain rather did he represented a flawed batter who batted with vigor and a brave captain who led a team by example where the Kiwi’s trait, humility undoubtedly outshone.
He bid adieu to the One-Day affair on a high note by winning the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy against Australia. His test cap as he describes is stinky and rancid ahead of his 100th consecutive Test match becoming the first man to do so without missing a game. I hope he finishes his script in his last Test series with a distinctive panache and enigmatic attitude and produces an innings like an abstract expressionist finishing his canvas.