Sport McCullum to skip upcoming tours in Africa

McCullum to skip upcoming tours in Africa

Brendon McCullum
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum will skip the limited-overs tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa in August because he’s had an “intense period of cricket dating back to the World Cup,” according to an NZC release. McCullum, however, has committed to leading New Zealand in the home and away series against Australia at the end of 2015 and the 2016 World T20 in March, putting to rest recent speculation that he may give up ODI cricket.

NZC said its annual contracting process will be completed next week and the list of players being offered contracts will be announced on July 1.

“It’s a critical time for the team,” McCullum said. “We’ve had a very good past 18 months but we’ve got some real challenges ahead of us and we need to keep making progress. This is a young, emerging side with some very big series on the horizon and it’s a really exciting time to be involved.”

McCullum, 33, was at the forefront of New Zealand’s exhilarating 2015 World Cup campaign that ended with a defeat in the final, after which he led them in all formats during the tour of England, drawing the Test series, and losing a hard-fought ODI contest 2-3 and the solitary T20 international.

At the end of the tour, McCullum was non-committal while answering a question about his ODI future, and said: “I don’t know. We’ll wait and see. We’ll let the dust settle on this. It’s been a great year, an incredible summer for us. We’ve scaled some heights that hadn’t been done before from our country … I’ve enjoyed the last two years. The body’s a bit sore at the moment but we’ll see what happens.”

Having secured McCullum’s services for another year, NZC chief executive David White said it was “enormous news” for New Zealand. “Under Brendon, the Blackcaps have enjoyed unprecedented success over the past 18 months and to have him remaining at the helm for another year is extremely good news. Brendon has proved himself to be an exceptional player and leader and the side will be much stronger for his presence.”

McCullum has also signed a three-year contract to play for the BBL franchise Brisbane Heat, which is coached by his former New Zealand team-mate Daniel Vettori.