Brendon McCullum hailed as 'best batsman in the world'
The English have hailed Brendon McCullum as international cricket's player of the week, the Australians have labelled him "a mould unto himself" and Asian cricket writers suggest he is "the best batsman in the world".
The Black Caps captain has been showered with praise by the international media after his team's test win over Sri Lanka.
McCullum earned the man of the match award for his blistering 195, which ultimately proved the difference in New Zealand's eight-wicket win in four days in Christchurch.
McCullum's record-breaking innings was hailed around the world as the skipper capped a remarkable year for himself and his team.
There was rare acknowledgement for a New Zealand cricketer across the Tasman, with McCullum forcing the Australian media to take notice.
"You'd be smiling too if you could block balls for six" was the headline on news.com.au, where sports writer Anthony Sharwood produced a quirky piece based on McCullum's unique qualities.
"Brendon McCullum used to be a devastating wicketkeeper-batsman in the Adam Gilchrist mould but is now a devastating batsman in the Brendon McCullum mould," Sharwood wrote.
"There really is no-one like him in the test cricket arena at the moment. He is a mould unto himself."
He said McCullum's startling 134-ball innings should not have come as a surprise.
"Neither was this a fluke," he wrote. "McCullum's previous test innings was 202 against Pakistan in Sharjah. As in the same team who beat Australia senseless over there recently."
On Sport360.com, cricket writer Ajit Vijaykumar suggested McCullum was "the best batsman in the world right now" and his leadership had helped the Black Caps emerge as the game's most improved side.
"Many players hit a purple patch in their careers, but what separates the good from the great is the ability to make the most of it," Vijaykumar wrote.
"New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has managed to squeeze every bit out of the great year that 2014 has been for him.
"What makes the mountain of runs even more special is that it has coincided with New Zealand gaining new respect as a team.
"They are beginning to challenge sides on a consistent basis and are easily the most improved side in the past few seasons. And McCullum's leadership has been instrumental in New Zealand's rise.
"Given the situation in which he scored those big knocks and how his batting and leadership has energised his players, it is safe to pick McCullum as the best batsman in the world right now."
The Cricket World, an English publication produced since 1987, named McCullum as its player of the week for "his efforts in setting up victory in the Boxing Day test".
This came despite two other heavyweight tests being played – Australia against India and South Africa against the West Indies – that were littered with worthy efforts.
"Having scored the fastest century by a New Zealander, he also scored 1000 test runs for the calendar year during the innings, becoming the first New Zealand player to do so," Cricket World reported.
"In Melbourne, Steve Smith made 192, Virat Kohli 169 and Ajinka Rahane 147 as Australia did battle with India.
"Ryan Harris backed up an innings of 74 with a haul of 4-70 as Australia chased the series win.
"And in Port Elizabeth, Dean Elgar hit a career-best score of 121 and Faf du Plessis made 103 as South Africa started the second test against the West Indies strongly.
"But McCullum's audacious innings wins him our award."
Writing in The Guardian, former England cricketer Mike Selvey labelled McCullum the best captain in the game at present and rated the Black Caps as a World Cup chance.
"With the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand approaching, and led by McCullum, the outstanding captain in world cricket at the moment, they seem to be gathering momentum and strength as a team," Selvey wrote.
"When he succeeded Ross Taylor as captain two years ago, it was viewed as something of a coup d'etat by the Otago mafia, such was the uncompromising manner in which it was done. It alienated Taylor, a fine batsman and man, and divided opinion.
"Mike Hesson was seen as a lightweight coach unqualified for the demands of international cricket.
"Instead, the pair have transformed the team, with success this past year in all forms of the game: five of nine tests won; nine one-day internationals won and one tied of 16 games, unstuck only in two heavy defeats by South Africa; and six of 10 Twenty20 internationals won.
"As a team they are prudent, make the most of resources, plan well, have the confidence to go with that and have caught the imagination of their public. It may just be their time."