Sport

The rancid smell of success: Brendon McCullum savours 100 consecutive Tests

WELLINGTON: New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum will dust off his stinking Test cap for the last series with fewer runs under his belt than he would have liked, but still a satisfied man.

The 34-year-old will become the first person to play 100 consecutive Test matches when he leads his side out onto the Basin Reserve against Australia on Friday.

The two-match series will be his last before retiring, and the much-improved home side will fancy their chances of a rare win against their big brother.

He dug his battered Test cap out this week and admitted it stunk.

"I got it out of the bag before, it's rancid," McCullum said.

Cricket's little superstitions meant he had also kept the same thigh pad, but he wasn't going to get his cap repaired.

Advertisement

"Absolutely not, I've worked too hard to get it like that," he said.

McCullum also admitted he had been thinking over his career recently.

"The last 15, 20 Tests have been an incredible part of your life, the changes we've been able to make and the evolution of the environment and the performances we've started to put up – you look back with a sense of pride on what you've been able to achieve with a group of guys," he said.

"For me, the game's always been about in the changing room afterwards, after you've been able to earn a Test win in tough circumstances."

He said winning a series 2-1 in the West Indies in 2014 was a defining moment.

"It's not an easy place to tour and to be able to get results over there was outstanding," McCullum said.

Individually, his match-saving 302 against India in 2014 in Wellington stood out, because of what it meant to his followers.

McCullum put his longevity down to New Zealand not playing as many Tests as other countries.

He pointed to Andrew Strauss' England career of 100 Tests, despite him starting later and retiring earlier than the Kiwi.

McCullum was proud of his strength of character to bounce back from injury.

"It's more the mental game, which is the hardest thing, when you are doubting yourself. You are not sure whether it's going to be your last Test from a performance or selection point of view.

"Those are the key times ... it almost takes the pressure off you, you remind yourself it's meant to be fun, the game, just go out and play it for the right reasons, and funnily enough it's when you start to let go a bit [that] your performances start to improve a little bit."

AAP

Poll

Advertisement