Brendon McCullum adamant there was no Ross Taylor captaincy coup in Sri Lanka
Ross Taylor hasn't read Brendon McCullum's book and is said to be "not interested" in his former vice-captain's withering criticism of his leadership.
In what could be seen as very poor timing, McCullum's book Declared hit the shelves in New Zealand as Taylor - who is struggling for form - and his Black Caps team-mates prepare to face India in the second one-day cricket international in Delhi on Thursday (9pm NZT) after four heavy defeats.
McCullum has detailed what he saw as Taylor's failings as New Zealand captain and insists he played no part in his removal.
He devotes a chapter entitled The Coup That Wasn't to the saga which split New Zealand Cricket down the middle and created a public backlash in December 2012.
New Zealand Cricket's manager public affairs, Richard Boock, said of Taylor: "He's a strong and independent character and he's seen media reports but hasn't read the book. He's not really interested in what's been said but at the moment he's concentrating all his energy and attention on playing for New Zealand and preparing for tonight's ODI."
NZC had no comment to make on the book, however. McCullum is no longer contracted to the national body after retiring from international cricket in February.
"Everyone's entitled to their opinion and this is Brendon's book and we're not interested in judging it," Boock said.
In the book, McCullum insists he supported Taylor when he [McCullum] was vice-captain amid increasing angst among other senior players which came to a head before their heavy defeat to Sri Lanka in the first test in Galle in November 2012.
But McCullum, who took over as captain when Taylor turned down an offer to be test skipper only, wrote he only knew Mike Hesson had recommended a captaincy change when the coach told him on the plane ride home.
"I got caught in the middle of the situation of a captain who wouldn't talk to his coach or his team. I was keeping my powder dry in the team environment, trying to be the supportive vice-captain, but behind the scenes I became increasingly frustrated as I watched the Black Caps spiral downwards," he wrote in the book.
McCullum said Taylor shut himself in his room for periods and some players felt they could not approach him directly.
"A quiet guy at the best of times, going further into his shell didn't help - he'd surface with angry outbursts, instead of a coherent plan," McCullum wrote.
The situation escalated before the first test in Galle when senior players including Kyle Mills spoke up at an explosive team meeting, McCullum wrote. He sensed Hesson's frustration with Taylor. It got worse after the 10-wicket Galle defeat when McCullum confronted Taylor.
"The atmosphere in the changing room after that loss at Galle was awful, and I picked up a fair bit of animosity towards Ross. The team was finally imploding. I decided things had had gone far enough and asked Ross to come to the dunnies out the back with me.
"I said to him 'this is your effin' team, mate. You need to grab it by the scruff of the neck and I will help you along the way, otherwise we're going to lose our way completely'. Ross was standing, leaning against the window. He had this expression on his face, again difficult to read. Again, he said nothing. I was unaware of what, if anything, had happened behind the scenes at that point and it was genuine about trying to reach out and motivate him, because it was obvious to everyone that the s... was coming to a head, that it was about to blow."
Taylor later told media he'd been summoned to a meeting with Hesson, assistant coach Bob Carter and manager Mike Sandle before the test series to tell him Hesson would be recommending a change in captain when the team returned to New Zealand. Later Taylor said he was adamant that was being stripped of the captaincy in all three formats, and said in a radio interview that someone in NZC was "definitely lying" about their public version of events around his sacking.
McCullum insisted he wasn't told of this meeting by Hesson till the plane ride home when they sat next to each other, after a 167-run win in the second test in Colombo when Taylor led the way.
"He told me he'd had a conversation with Ross about the captaincy, but that decision would have to be made by the board of New Zealand Cricket. He then asked me, if the board ratified the decision to replace Ross as captain, and it offered the captaincy to me, would I be interested? I told him I would have to think about it..."
During the tour McCullum was confiding in his mental conditioning coach Kerry Schwalger who he was paying $1500 a month.
"From whatever hotel we were in, I'd simply vent my spleen by email at the end of another frustrating day, tell him exactly how pissed off and bitter I was at what I saw happening around me, getting rid of all the stuff I couldn't take into the team environment..."
Extracts from a chapter titled The Coup That Wasn't.
Brendon McCullum — Declared. Written in collaboration with Greg McGee. Published by Mower Books, an imprint of Upstart Press Ltd. RRP $49.99. On sale now.