Cricket: Otago should celebrate captaincy decision - Cumming

Craig Cumming. Photo by Peter McIntosh
Craig Cumming. Photo by Peter McIntosh
Craig Cumming has urged the Otago public to ignore the hubbub surrounding Brendon McCullum's appointment and celebrate the elevation of one of its favourite sons as Black Caps captain.

Cumming, the former long-serving Otago skipper, has no doubt McCullum will do a fine job, and has also spoken out strongly in defence of embattled coach Mike Hesson.

He knows McCullum inside and out and is confident the dashing batsman will succeed as captain.

''I've always thought he would make a good captain of the Black Caps,'' Cumming said yesterday.

''A cricket captain needs to be tactically the best in the side. You need to communicate well, organise, motivate and stimulate your team-mates, make split decisions, be quick on your feet, and plan and prepare well.

''From my experience with Brendon, he ticks those boxes.

''I played under him as captain last year and he was outstanding. If I thought he was rubbish, I'd say it.''

Cumming endorsed Hesson's initial plan, spoiled by incumbent Ross Taylor's refusal to accept partial demotion, to split the captaincy.

''Knowing Michael, and trusting his judgement, that's obviously what he believed was needed to drag New Zealand out of the dungeons of world cricket.

''I'm sure he would have given this a lot of thought. He would have analysed it and decided that was the best thing to do.

''He doesn't make split-second decisions. He obviously wasn't totally comfortable with the way things were working, and wanted a change.

''I back his judgement because I know what he's like. He wants the team to get better, and more consistent. And he obviously feels there is a need for change.''

Cumming rejected any suggestion Hesson had simply wanted McCullum in charge because of their Otago connection.

The captaincy was a tough role and needed to be filled by the right person. It wasn't about rewarding a player based on friendship.

Cumming acknowledged the saga had been ''terrible'' for New Zealand cricket, and that the Black Caps were a much poorer side without Taylor.

But he believed the players would support McCullum. He backed Hesson's decision, and was disappointed some had attacked the coach for making the bold move.

''This situation was always going to ruffle a few feathers. It's a tough job. Mike knew it wasn't always going to be easy.

''But I get annoyed when people get stuck into him from a personal point of view with uneducated comments.''

Cumming, who joked Otago was now the most powerful province in New Zealand cricket, hopes the Hesson-McCullum duo will have plenty of success to come.

''It's nice. I think Otago should be very proud of Mike Hesson and Brendon McCullum.

''Brendon's a Dunedin boy, out of King's High School. We should be singing from the rooftops that he's our national skipper.''

 

Otago Cricket

I'd say most Otago cricket fans are slightly bemused and a little ashamed about the whole fiasco, like the rest of us.