McCullum return boosts BlackCaps
Sat, 14 Jul 2012 12:53a.m.
Back with the Black Caps earlier than expected, Brendon McCullum has been impressed with the team's growing sense of confidence ahead of the fourth one-day international at Warner Park in St Kitts on Sunday (NZT).
After losing two Twenty20 exhibition matches, and suffering heavy back-to-back defeats in the opening ODIs, the New Zealanders bounced back with an 88-run win in the third limited-over match two days ago.
They've been boosted ahead of the fourth by the early return of captain Ross Taylor, who has recovered quicker than expected from a shoulder injury in the opening Twenty20 match two weeks ago.
McCullum was originally scheduled to play in just the two Tests of the West Indies tour, but has been brought into the team early after a series of injuries hit the Black Caps squad.
"In the last game, the boys definitely upped the ante a lot more - you could notice the hustle in the field, and a little more desperation," McCullum says.
It was understandable the inexperienced New Zealand unit struggled against the Windies, he added, with a break of nearly four months since their last international outing against South Africa in New Zealand.
"When you come up against a team that is match-hardened, it can be a little difficult at times," McCullum says.
The Black Caps will be without in-form wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling, who tore his quadricep running between the wickets in the third ODI.
With Watling out of action for the remaining ODIs, it appears likely young Canterbury wicketkeeper Tom Latham will take over the gloves.
McCullum's focus remains squarely on his responsibilities coming in at the top of the batting order.
"I feel mentally fresh, mentally ready to go. There's going to be some challenges to try and overcome, but I'm confident I can play a role in the team and add some runs at the top of the order as well."
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