Brendon McCullum wants Tim Southee to be his
vice-captain, he's said as much.
He wants him to be his v-c for all the right reasons.
He'd be crazy to go through with it. Somebody more attuned to
the world of sports politics needs to inform him of that post
The newly installed New Zealand skipper's reasoning is sound.
He doesn't particularly see the need for an official
vice-captain but in the event that he has to leave the ground
for any reason, he thinks "Southee is coming into his own.
He's a bit more settled in his game now than someone like
Kane [Williamson] is", McCullum told the Herald.
He will also be wary of anointing the next captain by having
Williamson, most people's pick to eventually take over, too
early. It happened to McCullum himself when he was Daniel
Vettori's wingman, only to lose that role in strange
McCullum has a good point in wanting Williamson to settle
into his role in the side without the burden of expectation,
but in this case he needs to develop a sense of PR guile.
Southee would perhaps be the most inappropriate vice-captain
he could choose.
Let's start from the top.
McCullum is managed by Stephen Fleming. Tim Southee is
managed by ... Stephen Fleming. There was already misguided
flak flying around about Fleming being the New Zealand
Cricket Players' Association representative on the panel that
appointed Mike Hesson as coach; Southee as v-c provides the
ammunition for a full-blown, grassy knoll-type conspiracy.
The phrase "not a good look" is too often trotted out but in
this case you could get away with it.
Already red flags will be running up the pole at New Zealand
Cricket. An impeccable source said while it was true that
McCullum presented professionally and persuasively when he
was forced into a captaincy run-off with Ross Taylor, the
panel had a major problem with his desire to promote Southee
into a leadership role.
NZC couldn't see it then and, no matter how well the seamer
has done to get his bowling back on track, probably can't see
Southee has a reputation for being one of the lads and, even
allowing for the fact that people grow up, if there's one tag
you'd never apply to him, it's leader of men. Perhaps he's
different inside the group, but perception can be a hard
thing to shake.
Take his batting. Southee blazing 156 this week for Northern
Districts just highlights how badly he has underachieved with
the willow since scoring 77 not out in his first test.
Try looking your teammates in the eye and telling them what
they should be doing when half an hour earlier you've chipped
one down the throat of the only fielder on the boundary.
Taylor and particularly McCullum are not immune when it comes
to rash dismissals, but they have demonstrated they can fight
This also fails to give credit to Southee for change. He
might have now realised just how good he can be, just how
hard he needs to work and just how much he has to offer this
In a few years he might make a fine vice-captain, but right
now he comes with a flashing warning sign.
Williamson would be a smarter choice; so too would be, when
he returns, Taylor.
- Dylan Cleaver