McCullum would provide 'assertive leadership'

GEOFF LONGLEY
Last updated 05:00 05/12/2012
Craig McMillan
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CRAIG MCMILLAN: "The national team in recent times has generally been going backwards at a great rate of knots."
Ross Taylor
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ON THIN ICE: Ross Taylor (right) could be replaced as captain of the New Zealand cricket team by Brendon McCullum (left).

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Installing Brendon McCullum as the new New Zealand captain should bring a more definitive style of play to the Black Caps, says commentator Craig McMillan.

McMillan, who played 55 tests and 197 one-dayers for New Zealand from 1997 to 2005, feels the New Zealand team has lacked a distinctive brand in recent years and believes McCullum's naturally assertive and aggressive nature would benefit the team.

"Unfortunately the national team in recent times has generally been going backwards at a great rate of knots. But if Brendon is chosen his batting discipline must improve, he is not at the level of Taylor."

McMillan's overriding wish is that a decision on the leadership be made immediately to stop on-going speculation which damaged the sport.

"We should be celebrating a great away win against Sri Lanka, but instead we are poring over the merits of McCullum and Taylor."

McMillan was a television commentator on the month-long tour.

He said he saw nothing to indicate players and coach were at loggerheads. He supported coach Mike Hesson having the final say on his captain, but would have considerable sympathy for Taylor if he was ousted.

"He has done an OK job in the 12 months or so he has been in the job. It takes time to learn the art of captaincy and I think back to Stephen Fleming who took a few years before he felt comfortable in the job. Taylor is not the finished article and who is to say that in another couple of years he is not a very good captain. But the team's best interests must take precedence."

McMillan reserved some of his most trenchant criticism for New Zealand Cricket and its board for not front-footing the issue and believed incoming chief executive David White was having to "clean up the mess" left by his predecessor, Justin Vaughan.

McMillan felt there were too few board members with genuine cricket experience to test chief executive recommendations.

"It's all very well to blame the players and on field they must cop stick for below-par performances. But they don't have to look far to see who is setting the example for muddled thinking."

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