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McCullum believes Kane Williamson must be given more freedom to ‘drive New Zealand forward’

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum called for the incumbent Kane Williamson to be given more freedom in selecting the XIs that New Zealand field going forward.

Speaking in the context of New Zealand’s 3-0 sweep at the hands of Australia in December-January, McCullum told Sky Cricket Podcast that poor selections were part of the reason New Zealand fared so badly.

New Zealand barely put up a fight, going down by margins of 296 runs, 247 runs and 279 runs respectively, and McCullum said that the team management needs to trust Williamson’s pedigree more and give him more leeway in putting together the team he wants to.

“I think selections were pretty average and that Kane Williamson needs to be given more control,” McCullum said. “He has been through the entire thing and knows what needs to be done to drive that team forward.

“If he wants to be the one to take this team to the next level, he should have total control. He has the pedigree, not just from a playing skill point of view, but from a leadership point of view as well.”

Though New Zealand bounced back from that defeat to beat world No.1 India 2-0 at home earlier this year, McCullum said the damage from the defeat to Australia will persist over a longer period of time and wondered if they were still reeling from the heartbreaking outcome of the World Cup final in July at Lord’s.

“The damage done will hurt for a long time,” McCullum said. “I was probably pretty vocal at the time about how I thought there were some behaviours which weren’t exhibiting the behaviours that the team had shown before.

“I wonder how much carry over there was from the World Cup final. As we have a small pool of players, a lot of those play both forms of the game and I wonder how much that really hurt.

“They didn’t carry themselves in the manner I thought they would. I think if they had their time again, they would step up to the plate a little bit more and believe in what they were doing.”

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