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McCullum delighted with golden summer

Brendon McCullum hopes his second-Test heroics against India doesn’t distract too much from the giant team strides made by New Zealand in their all-conquering home summer.

 
 

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A host of fine individual and team performances against the West Indies and India was topped by captain McCullum’s 302 in the drawn Test which finished in Wellington on Tuesday.

They won the Test series 1-0 to follow a 2-0 drubbing of the West Indies in December.

“Our performance last year at home was very good against England (drawn 0-0) and if we wanted to keep building on that, then this summer had to be a groundbreaking one for us,” McCullum said.

“We knew fans were desperate to get on board with this team and we needed to show them some consistency and success.”

Aside from spin bowling and at the top of the batting order, New Zealand can now boast depth and quality in all facets.

Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner have formed a productive seam combination in home conditions, runs have flowed freely from the bats of Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson and McCullum while the allrounder berth can easily be capably filled by either Corey Anderson or James Neesham.

Wicketkeeper BJ Watling has racked up some big numbers – both with his gloves and the bat.

One-day international performances also improved as the summer progressed.

New Zealand drew 2-2 with the West Indies before beating the same opponents in two Twenty20 internationals. India then succumbed 4-0 in a lop-sided ODI series.

McCullum admitted he was proud of his 13-hour match-saving vigil at the Basin Reserve, becoming the Black Caps’ first triple century-maker.

He hopes he has broken the mould for others although he felt sheepish about going past the owners of the previous best scores, former captains Martin Crowe (299) and Stephen Fleming (274 not out).

“I feel a little bit embarrassed because I’m nowhere near the calibre of players they were,” he said.

“But I think in terms of moving forward for this team, hopefully some of these guys will continue to break that (300) barrier.”

McCullum says the back pain that dogged him through the summer will be ever-present for the rest of his career.

He had “dark thoughts” when the injury worsened in Bangladesh four months ago but is confident he can stay on top of it.

“There will be times when it flares up and it will be pretty tough to handle.

“I’ve got to make sure that along with the coaching and support staff that we manage my workload and manage my training as well to ensure that I can go out there and perform.”

 
 

 
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