New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum is all set to call curtains on his glorious international career after the second Test against Australia that started in Christchurch on Saturday. The dashing wicketkeeper-batsman has been the mainstay of New Zealand for the last few years and as captain, took the Black Caps to newer heights.
The cap may be tattered but the legacy Brendon McCullum will leave when he calls it quits is of glowing success, destructive batting, record-setting innings and reshaping the game.
He doubts he will go down as one of cricket's greats and, taken in isolation, his batting average of a shade more than 38.00 after 101 Tests suggests he may be right.
But the 34-year-old has never been just a batsman, nor just a wicketkeeper-batsman in his early days. Whenever he strode to the middle there was an expectant murmur in the crowd and doubt among the bowlers.
McCullum went into his final Test as New Zealand's second-highest run-scorer with 6,283 behind Stephen Fleming (7,172), third on New Zealand's ODI batting list behind Fleming and Nathan Astle with 6,083 and topping the Twenty20 list with 2,140 runs and it seemed as if he had saved his best for the last as he plundered the fastest century in history of Test cricket in Christchurch against Australia.
Take a look at some of the most memorable McCullum innings.
145 v Australia at Christchurch, February 2016
It seemed as if McCullum had saved his best for the last. Emotions ran high at Hagley Oval in Christchurch as McCullum walked out onto the field to bat in his final Test. The expectations were high and McCullum made sure he signed off in the way only he can as he plundered the fastest century in the history of Test cricket. After being put into bat, New Zealand were struggling at 32/3 when McCullum arrived at the crease. What followed was mayhem as he smashed a century off just 54 balls breaking the record of the fastest century set earlier by West Indies great Sir Viv Richards and then equaled by Pakistan Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq, off 56 balls. He clobbered 21 fours and six sixes on his way to 145 off 79 balls. Along the path of a historic innings, he was a tad lucky as he was caught in the deep off on 39 but replays showed that James Pattinson had overstepped. He made them pay big time and helped New Zealand to 370 in the first innings.
302 v India at Wellington, January 2014
An innings where McCullum showed he could put aside his batting belligerence and instead graft away for the good of the team. India led by 246 on the first innings and had New Zealand at 94 for 5 in the second before McCullum began a near 13-hour stand in which he made 302, the only Test triple-century by a New Zealander, and saved the Test. He faced 559 balls and hit 32 fours and four sixes.
104 v Australia at Wellington, March 2010
McCullum's first century against Australia and while it did not save New Zealand it spared them from an innings defeat. New Zealand were forced to follow on 302 behind and were 183 for 5 in the second innings when McCullum again showed he could control his naturally aggressive nature. In a tempered innings, he faced 232 deliveries for 104.
195 v Sri Lanka at Christchurch, December 2014
It was a trademark McCullum performance as Test cricket made its return to Christchurch for the first time since the 2011 earthquakes that devastated the city. He scored one run in the first 11 balls he faced and then opened up. It took 134 balls to reach 195 in an innings that included 18 fours and 11 sixes. In one over from Suranga Lakmal he hit three sixes and two fours and during his blitz became the first New Zealander to score 1,000 Test runs in a calendar year.
59 v South Africa at Auckland, March 2015
An ODI innings to savour and which put New Zealand into the World Cup final for the first time. In a shortened semi-final New Zealand needed a flying start batting second and facing a target of 298 in 43 overs. McCullum obliged when he opened the innings and made a mockery of some of the world's best bowlers with his 59 off 26 balls, toying with Dale Steyn, Vern Philander and Morne Morkel. One Steyn over produced 24 runs.
202 v Pakistan at Sharjah, November 2014
An emotionally drained McCullum produced a double century following the death of Australia's Phillip Hughes with whom he had previously played at New South Wales. Batting with the initials PH beneath the silver fern on his shirt, McCullum said he was relying on instinct as he smacked the fastest century by a New Zealander, reaching three figures in 78 deliveries. He was finally dismissed for 202 off 188 balls.
Bonus viewing: McCullum's blitzkrieg in IPL curtain-raiser
McCullum will still be seen in the IPL this year, where he'll play for Suresh Raina-led Gujarat Lions, so innings of this ilk might still happen. But The 'Baz' Blitzkrieg in the first match of IPL is an innings that provided the perfect launch pad for the two-month cricket extravaganza. Here's to seeing more of this in the upcoming seasons.
More bonus viewing: McCullum on the field
There have been a few electrifying fielders in the same league as McCullum, so any list on the New Zealand captain will be incomplete without a tribute to his tremendous athleticism. So, here's best of his catches and fielding efforts.
With inputs from AFP
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Updated Date: Feb 22, 2016 12:12:04 IST