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Farewell blues? What farewell blues?

 

Brendon, McCullum, Fastest Test Century, New Zealand, Australia
Brendon McCullum has blasted the fastest century in Test history, a 54-ball effort that broke the record jointly held by Viv Richards and Misbah-ul-Haq.

If Brendon McCullum was meant to be nervous on the opening day of his final Test he didn’t show it one bit. In an innings that epitomised his entire career, McCullum smashed 145 of 79 balls in the second Test versus Australia in Christchurch. Reaching three digits in 54 balls, McCullum broke the record for the fastest century in Test cricket, previously jointly held by Viv Richards and Misbah-ul-Haq.

Farewells to sportsmen are emotional affairs. There is a tendency to look, one last time, for those characteristics that defined the player throughout his career. Say MS Dhoni were to retire from the limited over format; we would all be looking for one last helicopter shot.

Against South Africa in Perth in 2012, Ricky Ponting shrugged and pulled Morne Morkel and then Dale Steyn for boundaries before being dismissed for 8, walking off to a thunderous applause. Against West Indies in Mumbai in 2013, Sachin Tendulkar replicated his trademark cover drives and sweeps in a final innings of 74 that bought a close to a legendary 24-year career. Against India in Durban in 2013, Jacques Kallis lofted and stonewalled his way to a slow century, paving the way to a series victory and a lap of honour.

It would be absurd to suggest that McCullum is comparable with any of Ponting, Tendulkar or Kallis in terms of cricketing skill. We’ll come to that argument when one of Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers or Alastair Cook retires. However what McCullum has, as he awaits retirement, is most people asking ‘why?’ rather than ‘why not’, which has not been the case with most recent retirees.

His record-breaking last-but-one innings defined why McCullum was so universally loved with the bat. It wasn’t just flashes in pans either. Since taking over captaincy in 2012, McCullum has reached almost Virender Sehwag-esque levels of rampage and consistency.

When New Zealand bat in the second innings all eyes will be on McCullum. Despite hopes to the contrary, McCullum will not replicate his record-breaking feats from the first. As long as he scores over a run-a-ball, we will all go home entertained.

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