Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor - who would make the best
captain of the New Zealand cricket team? Photo Getty
It's been an unsightly week for New Zealand cricket.
A win in Colombo should have been greeted with a mix of
relief and delight. Instead it has been almost forgotten in
the storm over whether Ross Taylor should remain national
captain or be replaced, either altogether or in short form
games, by Brendon McCullum.
NZC are the villains-in-chief for truly awful management of
what was always going to be a difficult situation.
But what of the two men at the centre of the firestorm. How
do they compare, or differ, in key areas?
Taylor captained New Zealand in their last 13 tests, for four
wins, two draws and seven losses. His test average as captain
is 49.85, six runs better than when not captain. He goes at
37.86 in his 116 ODIs; and a terrific 49.76 in 20 games as
skipper. He's had six wins and 12 losses in those.
McCullum has never captained New Zealand in a test, but has
done so in eight of his 206 ODIs. He averages 50.12 as
skipper, versus 30.24 when not.
In T20s, New Zealand have won five of his 12 in charge,
although two were against Zimbabwe.
Taylor is a laidback character, at least on the outside. He
may get wound up, but hides it pretty well. One exception was
the press conference after the dramatic win over Australia at
Hobart. That day Taylor's voice was breaking with emotion as
he said "that was for the New Zealand public". A private
conversation next day re-emphasised how much that victory
meant to him.
McCullum appeals as the more outgoing personality, with an
element of the cheeky chappie. He's likely to take a chance
if things aren't working, or he feels a punt is worth taking.
This could go badly, or turn a game.
However, he has far less experience as leader.
Taylor is the team's best batsman. Sure he can get out in
infuriating ways but a Taylorless batting lineup is
significantly weaker. Generally a safe pair of hands at slip,
although prone to the odd blooper of late.
No player angers the public more with his modes of dismissal
than "Baz". His talent is all too apparent. A double century
opening in Hyderabad in 2010 and any number of blazing
short-form innings show that.
Most wicketkeepers have uniformly safe hands when not wearing
the big gloves. Not so McCullum, who grasses more than he
* On-field presence
Taylor tends to be unobtrusive, at least as much as the guy
setting fields alongside the bowlers and directing plays can
When he was keeping McCullum, as the gee-up man in chief, was
always visible; less so now that he's given up the test
gloves. There's no rule which says the captain has to be an
arm-waver. It is more about the ability to command. You just
know M.S. Dhoni, Graeme Smith and Michael Clarke are captains
just by watching them in the field.
Less so these two rivals.
- David Leggat of the New Zealand Herald