The dark circles under his eyes were discernable as Brendon McCullum gave an insight into the immense stress and insecurities of a top flight cricketer. Visibly tired but relieved too after his 224-run knock, the New Zealand captain, who has been experiencing an on-again-off-again kind of form slump, unburdened himself in front of the media.
“You always question the desire,’’ he said. “This game is really tough. Really, really tough. And when you have been doing it for a reasonable period of time, you expect it to get easier. But it doesn’t. The expectations always increase, the pressure keeps on mounting,’’ he added.
McCullum had got some runs under the belt and a monkey off the back with a century against the West Indies. But two back to back zeros in the one-day series, and the proverbial simian was right back. “It is at time like these that you look back on when you started and how keen you were keen to play for New Zealand and perform for New Zealand,” he said.
“While you still have these opportunities, you have got to try and make those moments count,’’ he said. “Hopefully, there is a bit of kick left.’’ Being the captain of the team, he tends to come under the pump, anyway. But the fact that he doesn’t keep anymore means his position in the team is likely to be questioned more should he not score frequently enough. Which he hadn’t of late.
“It is harder to lead when you are not scoring runs. But that is also when your character and fighting qualities come out. You still have a job to do even if you are not scoring runs. And that is what I have learnt over this past little phase. I have learnt that that’s an important time to stand up as a leader and as a captain and still enjoy other people’s success.’’
He enjoyed Kane Willaimson’s success and said the youngster played an important role in helping him rein in his natural aggressive steak. “It was pretty hard work but batting with Kane helped. He is immensly mature. After we reached our 100s, he said it was nice to tick off the milestone, but there was a big job to do.’’ Kane fell soon after, but McCullum was able to carry on.