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Thread: Is criticism of Brendon McCullum justified?

  1. #1
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    Is criticism of Brendon McCullum justified?

    Listening to talkback radio in NZ it would be fair to say the cricketing public are divided on Brendon McCullum.

    IMHO the criticism is fully justified. The stats don't lie. Yes, McCullum's recent performances against India have been good but in the last three years (2011 - 2013) he scored 1452 runs from 48 innings at a paltry 31.56. In his 48 outings he scored just 1 century. This is simply not good enough.

    Like most others, the real issue I have with McCullum is his recklessness. It's fine to play like this in ODIs and T20s but so often we've needed him to knuckle down and he's thrown his wicket away. McCullum fans might well say he is improving, and his recent knocks against India show this, but it would be a different story if Kohli or Sharma had held on to their catches yesterday.

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    International Coach HeathDavisSpeed's Avatar
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    Those opportunities came despite him knuckling down. Interesting timing to make this criticism though after probably his most responsible innings for NZ. Though, you could say that just demonstrates that he is capable of doing the hard graft.
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    International Captain hendrix's Avatar
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    he's probably our third best batsman, quite easily really. (Taylor, Williamson, then McCullum).

    The idea that he's not one of the best six batsmen in the country is just ludicrous.

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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Flem274*'s Avatar
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    Of course it is.

    As long as you give credit where it's due, you can be critical when it's warranted. For a long time McCullum was a below par specialist batsman and was involved in some controversies. Now he's having a great home summer with the bat and has played very well. If people are seriously saying you're either with him or against him then they're just plain wrong, and I say that as probably the loudest McCullum whinger on the forum when he was playing more politics than good knocks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flem274* View Post
    Of course it is.

    As long as you give credit where it's due, you can be critical when it's warranted. For a long time McCullum was a below par specialist batsman and was involved in some controversies. Now he's having a great home summer with the bat and has played very well. If people are seriously saying you're either with him or against him then they're just plain wrong, and I say that as probably the loudest McCullum whinger on the forum when he was playing more politics than good knocks.
    Yes, credit where credit is due. He's doing very well in 2014 but from 2011 - 2013 how could he justify his position in the team?

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    Quote Originally Posted by HeathDavisSpeed View Post
    Those opportunities came despite him knuckling down. Interesting timing to make this criticism though after probably his most responsible innings for NZ. Though, you could say that just demonstrates that he is capable of doing the hard graft.
    Yes, he is capable of doing the hard graft but chose not to. If he'd shown as much tenacity as he's done in the last couple of months he'd be averaging well over 40 and I would not have started this thread! :-)

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    International Captain hendrix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonbrooks View Post
    Yes, credit where credit is due. He's doing very well in 2014 but from 2011 - 2013 how could he justify his position in the team?
    by being better and averaging more than most other specialist batsmen. also, the absence of Jesse Ryder made it a non-issue.

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    International Vice-Captain Mike5181's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonbrooks View Post
    Yes, credit where credit is due. He's doing very well in 2014 but from 2011 - 2013 how could he justify his position in the team?
    How could you justify any of our available replacements ahead of him?

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    Cricketer Of The Year Bahnz's Avatar
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    Yeah, during that period there were a number of players in the team who were obviously inferior batsmen to McCullum (Flynn, Brownlie, even KW has probably only surpassed McCullum in the last 6 months).
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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Flem274*'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hendrix
    by being better and averaging more than most other specialist batsmen. also, the absence of Jesse Ryder made it a non-issue.
    *by being an opener and we don't have any of those anyway

    During that period even a fringe batsman like Dean Brownlie had shown more in the middle order with his knocks in Australia and South Africa. Baz always had the talent but his double hundred aside there was no difference between his output and that of less fashionable batsmen. When he moved into the middle order he went missing most of the time when hard runs were needed. He was probably worth his place in the team, but only just and I don't agree he was noticeably better than many.

    McCullum has clearly cemented his status now though. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind his last two knocks are his best in test cricket, only matched by the double hundred in India. He's finally shown what myself and others have been banging on about for years - hundreds in hard situations. Baz can do it, and I'm happy to tastle it hard. I didn't think he was capable bar a couple of freak innings in his career, but nope.

    Last edited by Flem274*; 16-02-2014 at 02:19 PM.

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    International Captain hendrix's Avatar
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    Brownlie's runs were usually coming in at 6 and scoring an attractive 50 in a losing cause. That's not showing more IMO. Brownlie also had one of the most obvious weaknesses against spin bowling I've ever seen.

    This was during a period in which we also had Guptill being absolutely dreadful, Williamson still struggling to establish himself, and Taylor hadn't yet broken out of his inconsistencies. Our batting was just bloody weak. Still is, but now we at least have a bit of consistency with KW and Taylor and some useful Watling contributions.

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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Flem274*'s Avatar
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    What? Brownlie was our best batsman in Australia on green tops and scored a ton in South Africa batting at number four.

    It wasn't his fault the rest (Watling aside) couldn't stay in. His weakness against reasonable spin (he still smoked Robbie P) is the only thing holding him back from being a test batsman.

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    International Vice-Captain Mike5181's Avatar
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    Half the reason Brownlie scored that hundred was because he came in after McCullum's 100+ ball war against Steyn/Philander early on. They became noticeably wayward after the first 20 or so overs, and he has McCullum to thank for that. He was also dropped more than a few times. Not trying to take too much a way from Brownlie here, but the quality of that innings is a bit overstated.

    McCullum's just a better batsman. He actually averages 41 as a specialist batsman now.

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/eng...;type=allround
    Last edited by Mike5181; 16-02-2014 at 02:32 PM.
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    No, and it never really has been.

    I can't be bothered doing a big statistical overview, but quite blatantly - before BJ Watling, he was NZ's most accomplished keeper batsman in the test game and even while keeping, was happy to push himself up the order and attempt to solve the gaps we've had at 1, 2 and 3 since the retirement of Fleming. Watling now has a higher average as a keeper-batsman than McCullum had, but averaging over 30 pretty much his entire career puts him in good light compared to other players.

    Also, unlike pretty much every player who averages the same or more than him in test cricket, he's not had one position to call his own - even in the last three years, he's batted every position from 1 till 7 and was one of the few opening batsmen we had who averaged over thirty for a sustained period at the crease. He's now been asked to bat five, despite himself wanting to continue opening to give the team a chance at a solid platform and the longer he's played there, the more success he's been having.

    He still tends to get stuck between defense and all out attack too often, rather than rely on his quick running and pretty good placement and he gets himself out in some pretty stupid ways, but as an NZ bat - outside of Taylor, when was the last time we saw a guy score 3 centuries within four tests? Keep in mind that he made all of those centuries in counter punch innings where his side was under pressure and it starts to play off a lot better. If he'd been given the five spot and not shifted from there his entire test career, I think you'd see him averaging in the low forties, the problem is that based on his talent and how he's managed to butcher some of the very best bowling attacks in the world, people don't rate him against his peers and his fellow countrymen - Ross Taylor is the only guy who has been above him in average and centuries in the last five years, yet we constantly hear how McCullum should be dropped from tests, is a specialist captain, etc etc etc.

    Under his captaincy, NZ has started to put in some fighting performances and started to claw themselves back to respectability after years of crap under Vettori and then Taylor. He's also now part of a pretty solid core of pressure players in Williamson, Taylor and Watling who can all dig and fight when required. I think the only complaint I'd now make about him is that he bangs himself up way too much in the field and should probably concrete himself at second slip instead and let the younger legs do the chasing..... although that would rob NZ of it's best outfielder.

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    Request Your Custom Title Now! Flem274*'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike5181 View Post
    Half the reason Brownlie scored that hundred was because he came in after McCullum's 100+ ball war against Steyn/Philander early on. They became noticeably wayward after the first 20 or so overs, and he has McCullum to thank for that. He was also dropped more than a few times. Not trying to take too much a way from Brownlie here, but the quality of that innings is a bit overstated.

    McCullum's just a better batsman. He actually averages 41 as a specialist batsman now.

    All-round records | Test matches | Cricinfo Statsguru | ESPN Cricinfo
    yeah that's fair on Brownlie.

    Baz has that nice specialist batsman record now thanks to this home summer, and I've loved his efforts in the past few tests. Not bad for a bloke with a back on limited time. I think it's fair to say though that between his double hundred in India and this summer he was very frustrating.

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