DESPITE the furore over how he became New Zealand cricket captain, Brendon McCullum is confident that time will heal the wounds.
McCullum is preparing to lead the Black Caps on the tough assignment of touring South Africa.
Absent from the squad is the man he succeeded as skipper, Ross Taylor, who is taking a break from international cricket after losing the job.
McCullum says it’s a case of when, not if, Taylor returns to the Black Caps.
“What’s unfolding at the moment is very disappointing,” he told journalists in Auckland on Tuesday.
“But I’m sure that will all heal in due course.”
There have been conflicting accounts over what was meant when coach Mike Hesson told Taylor during the tour of Sri Lanka in November that he would recommend a change of skipper and whether that referred to just the short forms of the game.
Taylor maintains he was left in no doubt that the proposed change included the Test position.
McCullum said he was focused on the team and “not dealing too much with the other stuff”, but he had spoken to Taylor, describing the conversation as private.
“He needs a bit of space at the moment,” he said.
“He’s going through a very tough time and my thoughts and the team’s thoughts are with him.
“When he’s good and ready to come back, it will be great to have him back in the team because he’s obviously a world-class player and by far and away our best batsman as well.”
As for Hesson, who has attracted plenty of flak, McCullum said he was “obliviously hurting at the moment as well”.
“But he’s a very professional guy and he’s looking at how best he can channel his energies into the team.”
The tour begins with a Twenty20 warm-up fixture against a South Africa XI on December 19 (NZT), followed by three T20 internationals.
Apart from Taylor, the Black Caps will also be without another frontline batsman in Jesse Ryder, unavailable for personal reasons.
Ryder’s hot form this summer continued on Tuesday as he completed a first-innings knock of 162 for Wellington in the Plunket Shield match against Central Districts.
McCullum said he had also spoken to Ryder, who hasn’t played for New Zealand since February.
“I’m sure he will be back in the not-too-distant future,” McCullum said.
“At the moment, it’s about Jessie getting out of first-class cricket in the next few months what he needs to and that’s the most important thing.”