Brendon McCullum, scorer of New Zealand’s first ever triple century in its 84-year history, reflects with humour and honesty on what has been a historic series for the nation. Excerpts from his press conference.
How big was it for New Zealand to have somebody in the 300 club?
Without being disrespectful I probably didn’t know the magnitude of it until the last 24 hours. I grew up and watched the New Zealand cricket team for years on end. I saw Martin Crowe score his 299 and thought it would have been an amazing feat if he scored 300 but probably didn’t quite understand how much it meant to the whole country who support this team and the media and support that has started to gain momentum last night and this morning with everyone willing a New Zealander to finally break that 300 barrier. And Martin as well.
I saw him this morning and he was discussing how significant it would be. I guess that was one of the things that made me realise how big a moment it was. I also spoke to Stephen Fleming last night and he also said the same thing and those are the two guys who sat at 1 and 2 on the table. I feel a little bit embarrassed because I’m not anywhere near the calibre of players that those two in particular are but I think in terms of New Zealand cricket and moving forward for this team, we have finally broken that 300 barrier.
Martin Crowe had said that he got a little ahead of himself on 299 and started to think about what will happen and the adulation. Did you, during those last 19 runs, get ahead of yourself?
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I definitely wanted to get 300 so I guess I was thinking in front of myself. That was one thing I tried to do this summer is just play that moment and worry about that ball. After the first couple of runs today when I started feeling a little bit nervous which isn’t always normal, one of the things I had to tell myself was get back to the simple things that work and give the ball as much respect as it deserves.
How were you feeling this morning when you got up and walked through the gate to go out?
I wasn’t too bad till I saw the size of the crowd. Every ball that I defended, left or got a single they would start cheering and it made me a little bit more nervous, to be honest. That’s probably when I understood the magnitude and how much joy it gives fans to see guys succeed and see records broken. It was the moment when 300 came up and the applause was ongoing for quite a while is really when it hit home to me that it was quite a significant achievement for a New Zealander.
Talk us through the emotions then.
I’ve never experienced anything like that. That’s something I’ll hold onto for the rest of my life. At that moment I realised how much satisfaction you can bring people.
Were there tears in your eyes?
No tears. I’m from South Dunedin.
How much do you think the captaincy has contributed to this change in batting approach?
You want to lead from the front as captain and I haven’t always done that. I hope that’s what I’m starting to do. The hardest time to captain the team is when you’re not scoring runs and that’s when your character and the kind of person and leader you are outweighs your own form.
Beer last night with dad?
I did go for a beer with my old man. He was up and booked his flight for a month late which everyone says was a bit silly, I just think he’s quite cunning. Just caught up with him for a beer and tried to keep it as relaxed and as normal as possible.
What’s going to happen to that bat?
I’m not sure. It will go in the cupboard for a little while since we’re off to T20 cricket. That will bring out one of my old favourites that can handle a bit more of the swashbuckling swings.
How about a bottle of wine for Kohli (who dropped him on 9)?
I’m not sure what sort of wine he drinks but he got his little bit of karma back (he was given not out after nicking one).