Christchurch, Dec 26 (IANS) New Zealand batting coach Craig McMillan Friday described skipper Brendon McCullum as the most destructive batsman to have played for his country after the right-hander blasted a 74-ball ton against the Sri Lanka in the opening day of the first Test here.
McCullum eventually fell agonisingly short of a double hundred as he was dismissed for 195 by off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal.
“I don’t think I’ve got enough superlatives to describe that innings today. The man is an x-factor player. He has the ability to dominate and dismantle bowlers and change the tempo,” McMillan was quoted as saying by espncricinfo.com.
“I think he’s the most destructive and domineering player to play for New Zealand, certainly that I’ve seen,” added the 38-year-old former cricketer, who has scored six Test hundreds in 55 matches for New Zealand.
On McCullum’s recent purple patch with the bat, McMillan asserted that it was the Black Caps captain’s tight defence that has paved the way for his success even though he has been bludgeoning bowling attacks.
“One of the keys to his performance in Test match cricket over the last 12-18 months is the work he’s done on his defence. That might sound a little bit crazy when he’s belting the ball around the park as he has, but I think he’s tightened up in certain areas of his game, and kept the good balls out,” McMillan said.
“When he gets any chance to score – and for McCullum the margins are so small for the bowlers – he really punishes you and makes you pay. We know he plays all around the wicket and has all the shots, but his option-taking, based around a sound defence, has taken his game to another level.”