Brendon McCullum may move down order

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 05:00 10/12/2012
Brendon McCullum
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NEW CAPTAIN: Brendon McCullum.

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A shift down the batting order could be Brendon McCullum's first order of business as New Zealand's new captain.

This week McCullum will get down to the business of galvanising a team to tour South Africa, after emerging on Saturday to break his silence on one of New Zealand Cricket's darkest weeks.

When the focus eventually switches from Ross Taylor's awful treatment by NZC to the six-week tour, McCullum's position in the batting order will be discussed.

Initially a No 7 batsman/gloveman, he moved up to open in all three formats in 2010 before being shuffled between there and No 3 during Taylor's captaincy stint. With key batsman Taylor sitting out the tour, a return to the middle order looks a chance for McCullum whose approach can be exhilarating and infuriating in equal measures.

"Maybe with the change of rules in one-day cricket, we may see a change there. I'll have to speak with [coach] Mike [Hesson] and other senior players but one-day cricket could see me slip down the order slightly, especially given we have guys who are more than capable of batting at the top as well. It might just change the balance a wee bit," he said.

ODI rule changes include reducing the number of fielders outside the inner circle from five to four during non-powerplay overs, and restricting the batting powerplay to the first 40 overs.

McCullum gave it a "wait and see" when asked if he would slip down from the top-three in Twenty20s and tests.

In New Zealand's most recent three tours, to West Indies, India and Sri Lanka, McCullum averaged 27.91 in six tests, 21.50 in five ODIs and 43.42 in seven Twenty20 internationals, including 123 against Bangladesh at the World Twenty20.

He knows runs could be his most telling statement when he leads New Zealand out in the first of three Twenty20 internationals in Durban on December 21, before two tests in January. And he won't be holding back with his batting style.

"No, I don't think so. It's not a deliberate ploy to play aggressively. I try to play as instinctively as I possibly can and that will probably be one of the things from my captaincy as well to try and help the other guys to trust their instincts.

"When I get in trouble it's when I try to fight those instincts at times and that can often end in poor results. I won't try and deliberately make a change just because I've got the captaincy."

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