Brendon McCullum: 'The first priority is to make sure we
get ourselves together and work out how we're going to win
some more games . . .' Photo Reuters
New captain Brendon McCullum says his immediate priority
will be to galvanise the Black Caps so they give themselves the
best chance of winning on their upcoming cricket tour of South
McCullum has taken over the reins from Ross Taylor after what
he admits has been a trying time for all parties.
"I know it hasn't been a great process, the way it has
unfolded," he told journalists in Christchurch today.
But rather than the individual accolade or getting the
captaincy, he said his primary concern was for the team.
"The first priority is to make sure we get ourselves together
and work out how we're going to win some more games, because
ultimately that's what this team needs to do," he said.
"That's got to be our focus."
With Taylor opting for a break rather than go to South Africa
and another frontline batsman in Jesse Ryder also
unavailable, McCullum knows that it will be a big challenge
against cricket's top nation.
Having been made skipper only 48 hours ago, he says he hasn't
had a lot of time yet to devise game plans and strategies.
But the 31-year-old doesn't expect the captaincy to change
his aggressive batting style.
He says he played on instinct as much as possible and it was
when he fought those instincts that poor results arose.
McCullum says he had "absolutely no involvement" in coach
Mike Hesson's recommendation to New Zealand Cricket that he
take over the one-day and Twenty20 captaincy, while Taylor
remained as test skipper.
He said that speculation was the one thing that annoyed him
the most as the captaincy issue was played out this week.
"That cuts right to the bone that someone would question your
integrity and your character like that," he said.
"I guess it has been mentioned on a number of occasions and,
to be totally honest, it's highly insulting."
McCullum said he was asked two days ago if he would be the
captain for the shorter formats, and was asked on Friday to
lead the test team after Taylor turned down the job.
"That's about as much involvement as I've had in this entire
He also described his relationship with Taylor as "very good"
and said it was "media hype and fiction" that it was
"Ross is going through some tough times and my thoughts are
with him," he said.
"When he is good and ready to come back, then we would
certainly welcome him back and I will be looking to try to
help him as much as I can to reach the standards that he
wants to reach in this game."