Cricket: Keeping up with the play

I've been keeping since I was seven years old and that has been to the detriment of my batting. I love keeping, it's part of who I am as a cricketer, but there's also part of me that looks forward to a day when I can concentrate more on my batting.

The other thing is that when you're a keeper you have an out, so to speak. If you fail with the bat you can often say that you're still on the top of your game with your gloves and it is like a safety net, really. I can see how taking away that safety net might bring the best out of me as a batsman.

The closest I've come to being physically wrecked by my role was the test against India at Napier during the 2008-09 season. We batted first and I scored a century, then we knocked them over and enforced the follow-on. It was such a flat track, though, and they dug in during the second innings so we ended up fielding for three and a half days. I could barely stand up at the end of that test.

Keeping is different to fielding, I don't care what anybody says. Not only do you have to be switched on every single ball but you're effectively doing 600 squats a day.

If I was to give away the gloves I think I can feel satisfied that I got the best out of myself behind the stumps. My margin for improvement as a keeper is much less now than what it was a few years ago.

I'm really comfortable at where I am at with the gloves, having mostly eradicated the basic errors that blemished my early career.


- Reproduced from Brendon McCullum: Inside Twenty20 (Hodder Moa), $39.99 RRP, on sale now.