Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) star batsman Brendon McCullum says that the chance to be a part of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) this summer is an exciting one and one which he is determined to grasp when the tournament begins on 29 June.
McCullum is one of the most devastating batsmen in world cricket. Under his astute captaincy, the Otago man led the Black Caps to the ICC Cricket World Cup Final in 2015 and the integrity, values and skill levels that his side projected has endeared New Zealand globally over the last number of years.
In a phenomenal international career spanning 14 years across three formats, McCullum played 101 Tests (scoring 6,453 runs, including a highest score of 302), 260 ODIs (6,083 runs) and 71 T20 internationals (2,140 runs with a strike rate of 136.21).
In a wide-ranging interview with www.cplt20.com, the New Zealand star spoke candidly about playing for TKR in what will be his debut CPL campaign and also discussed being one part of a small Kiwi colony in Trinidad & Tobago alongside Anton Devcich and Colin Munro.
McCullum also outlined his hopes for his debut CPL season as well as his thoughts on the CPL’s plans to play in the USA and how CPL can help open up and develop a new market for cricket followers across north America.
On playing with Dwayne Bravo: “It’s going to be pretty cool to play on the same team as Dwayne. He’s the King of Trinidad by all accounts, so I’m looking forward to playing with him there and experiencing different cultures. Hopefully we can continue on the winning way that was experienced last year.”
On playing being part of the CPL’s first season in Central Broward Stadium, Lauderhill: “It (the USA) has the second most hits on Cricinfo, for a start, outside of India. Cricket isn’t obviously one of the strongest suits there, and we’re going to have to tap into a reasonably small part of the market place… Once we get out there the cricket will be highly competitive and from what I understand about CPL, taking cricket on the road to Fort Lauderdale in Florida is going to be an amazing experience to try and take the carnival-type atmosphere that CPL has and taking it abroad to a country like the States. Hopefully it goes well.”
On playing in Fort Lauderdale for New Zealand back in 2010: “My experience playing there last time was pretty cool. We were there for around two weeks, but unfortunately the training facilities were in their infancy, but I did manage to play around 12 rounds of golf!”
On being part of a Kiwi colony in TKR: “I don’t know what makes us unique, but coming from a small country we like to punch above our weight... If you’re part of an environment or a culture that you’re really enjoying, I think one of the strengths of the New Zealander is that they find a way to get every ounce of talent out of themselves. To have two other Kiwis is going to be good fun…Hopefully with three Kiwis in our (TKR) squad this year we can give it a good shake…”
On CPL attracting the top international stars to the Caribbean this summer: “The introduction of some of the biggest stars, like AB de Villiers, is phenomenal and a huge boost to have those guys partaking in the tournament. A pat on the back to CPL that they can attract some of the biggest names in international cricket to their tournament. It’s been running for a couple of years now and it’s a real coup to see these big names are attracted to the tournament because of the appeal that it’s had and the success it has generated already.”