Brendon McCullum hits back at criticism

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 15:13 08/12/2012
Brendon McCullum
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NEW CAPTAIN: Brendon McCullum at today's press conference.

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Brendon McCullum is insulted by suggestions that he had a hand in the process that brought about the controversial end of Ross Taylor's reign as New Zealand cricket captain.

McCullum, who has taken over the captaincy in all three forms after Taylor was dumped as limited overs captain and then turned down an offer to remain as test skipper, scoffed at those who claim he had any input into Taylor's demise.

Coach Mike Hesson says he recommended that Taylor be stripped of the one-day and Twenty20 captaincy following a debrief of the tour to Sri Lanka, but McCullum, who missed out on the captaincy when Taylor was initially appointed last year, said he had no input into the debrief or recommendation.

"That's probably the thing that has come out this week which has annoyed me the most," McCullum said at a press conference in Lincoln today.

"It cuts right to the bone, that people would question your integrity and your character like that. To be totally honest, it's highly insulting for people to cast aspersions when they certainly don't know any of the circumstances.

"I had absolutely no involvement in that recommendation whatsoever. I was asked if I would lead the one-day and Twenty20 team two days ago, and yesterday I was asked if I'd lead the test team after Ross turned it down. That's about as much involvement as I've had in the entire situation."

McCullum said talk of a rift between himself and Taylor was all "media hype".

He insisted the pair had a good relationship; he talked to Taylor two days ago and had tried to speak with him against this morning but understood that he needed some space.

"I thought he did a very good job yesterday in the media of being able to deal with some tough circumstances," McCullum said.

"Ross is an integral member of this team, he's vitally important for us increasing our performances and he's also a very popular member of the team as well, so there are a lot of guys who will be feeling for him at the moment. We'll welcome him back when he's good and ready."

Asked if he had any idea why the captaincy saga had played out so poorly, resulting in Taylor opting to take a break and miss the impending tour to South Africa, McCullum said: "You're probably asking the wrong person. I know it hasn't been a great process, the way it has unfolded, and I know there is a lot of anger towards it.

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"From our point of view, we need to try and galvanise the unit, get some faith back, and build some rapport with the public because that has taken a hit in the last few days."

He had never imagined taking over the captaincy of the national team in such volatile circumstances and with such a public backlash.

"They're obviously not very good circumstances at all. It's obviously been a pretty trying time all week for all parties involved. I guess from my point of view I've now got a job to do, to make sure we get on a plane and try and win some more games of cricket.

"There are many different areas we need to improve on but ultimately it's got to end up with winning. There will be no stone unturned in trying to work out what the right way forward is.

"I'm not going to sit here and tell you that we're going to go out there and beat South Africa in every single every game but we're going to work extremely hard as a group. I've got some thoughts which are probably best kept for the players but it's going to be incredibly tough."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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