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Brendon McCullum doesn’t deserve to retire with a whimper, but likely will

New Zealand, Mccullum, Retirement, Australia
It speaks volumes of the man as he calls it quits after playing Australia, a side against whom his record is worse than any other.

For a final time in a topsy-turvy but gloried international career, Brendon McCullum will walk out representing New Zealand for his 101st and final Test against Australia on Saturday. The two-Test series began as a celebration for the Kiwi skipper, in the hope that the now hosts would avenge their series defeat in Australia a few months ago. As each day of the first Test passed that hope began to fade as New Zealand eventually succumbed to an agonising innings defeat.

Now there is the real fear that the sought-after fairy-tale finish for McCullum is unlikely. Which is probably why he should have stuck around to lead New Zealand at the upcoming World T20.

There is a certain romance in playing your last international fixture at home as McCullum will in Christchurch. However McCullum’s record against Australia suggests that a likely failure could have been pre-empted. Against his Trans-Tasman rivals McCullum averages 24.5 in Tests, as compared to his overall average of a shade over 38. And now he is calling it quits after facing the same side against whom his record is worse than any other.

Prior to a career resurgence in 2012, McCullum was considered best suited for limited-overs cricket, despite being a permanent fixture in the New Zealand Test side. He holds the current record for the most runs in T20 internationals (2140) and is the only player to score two centuries at that level as well. Which is why it was a surprise than McCullum didn’t opt to play the World T20.

There is no doubt that McCullum has left a lasting impact on cricket. His aggressive captaincy is being replicated the world over – even the rigid Alastair Cook seems to be adopting some of McCullum’s buccaneering tactics.

But with the form Usman Khawaja and Adam Voges are in, Brendon McCullum may spend a long time marshalling his troops in the field one last time. As his white T-short turns brown and his skin bakes in the hot Christchurch sun, McCullum may wonder whether it would have been better to retire in coloured clothing and under lights.

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