World Cup

'Starc was too good for me'

Brendon McCullum may not have won the World Cup but he conducted himself like a champion on Sunday.

He was gracious in congratulating Australia, but still grateful for what he had been able to achieve with his team. He smiled warmly, thanked his people with the greatest humility, and refused to say anything that might deflect attention from Australia’s superiority. Few people are this generous in defeat.

“They were too good, and you’ve got to sometimes acknowledge when a team is better than what you were on the day. Hey, if we played them tomorrow, who knows what the result may be, but on the occasion, on the day, they stepped up and they delivered.

“They put us under early pressure, took three early wickets, and then we re-gathered. We gave ourselves an opportunity at three for 150, and then they came again at us. All credit to them to be able to grab those key moments,” he said.

McCullum was still proud of what his side had accomplished. Martin Crowe and John Key, the Prime Minister, had been in the dressing room before the game, he revealed, and had been proud of what they’d done for the country.

Fantastic ride

“It’s been one hell of a ride and something that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives,” he said. “It would have been great to have got the silverware but it wasn’t meant to be. What we were able to achieve in this tournament will last for a long time.

“The friendships we’ve created, the experiences that we’ve had, and the people that we’ve been able to inspire is something that we’re really proud of. We’ve had some support from our country which we never believed was possible. We ran second today, and all credit to Australia, but we walk away with our heads held high.”

McCullum was asked if, like Michael Clarke’s retirement, there would be New Zealand players including himself hanging up their boots. “First of all, Michael Clarke has been an outstanding cricketer for Australia. His captaincy has been brilliant throughout his tenure. He deserves to bow out a World Cup winner. Sometimes there is a bit of romance in this game, and this was one of those occasions tonight,” he said.

“There may be guys within our group who will retire. We’ll let the dust settle on this one, and we certainly won’t look to grab any headlines over the next couple days because they belong to Australia.”

McCullum, dismissed for zero, had never considered reining in his attacking instincts, he stated. “Hadds (Haddin) actually asked me before the first ball, he said, ‘Are you still going to have a crack today?’ and I said, ‘Too right’. I went in with the same mindset.

“He (Starc) was a bit too good for me today, that’s for sure. He deserves to be the man of the tournament. He was outstanding, bowled at good pace, he swung the ball late, and he was incredibly accurate all the way along.”


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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 11:39:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/world-cup/new-zealand-captain-brendon-mccullum-post-match-conference/article7046313.ece

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