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McCullum 'simply a marvel'

Sky Sports Sky Sports 22/12/2015
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Brendon McCullum's magnificent all-round contribution to New Zealand means he'll be remembered as 'a fantastic cricketer and bloke', says Robert Croft.

McCullum will bow out of international cricket after the Test series against Australia in February - his 101st and last Test will be the second Test in his home town, Christchurch, on February 20.

Croft, who played with McCullum at Glamorgan, said he's disappointed the New Zealand captain won't be part of next year's ICC World Twenty20 but told Sky Sports he understood the timing of the decision.

"I'm really going to miss watching him play," said former England spinner Croft. "He's an explosive, destructive batsman but don't forget his finesse either - he's scored 11 Test centuries including a triple hundred.

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"But it's his six-hitting form that stands out - he needs just one more six to beat Adam Gilchrist's record of 100 for the most number of sixes in Test cricket.

"He's electric in the field and you have to remember him as a captain too for being very inventive, very imaginative.

"He gets the players feeling like they're not cramped in so they can go and express themselves. He's an all-round fantastic cricketer and bloke."

McCullum explained that he had wanted to wait until after his final match to make the announcement, but revealed his decision earlier than planned due to the imminent naming of the Black Caps' ICC World Twenty20 squad.

It's over a decade since McCullum made his Test debut against South Africa in March 2004 and Croft paid tribute to the 34-year-old's longevity in the game.

"You have the physical demands, day in, day out of five-day Test matches plus the mental demands of travelling around the world; Test cricket is played 12 months of the year now, home and away," he said.

"He was a keeper, he has been a captain - so when you put all of that into the mix, the man has taken a heck of a lot onto his shoulders.

"As a cricket fan I'm gutted because he's not going to be in the World T20 but having played with him at Glamorgan I know what a good man he is.

"I know the spirit that he's always played the game in and he's tried to leave New Zealand cricket in a better state than he found it and I believe he's done that."

Watch McCullum in 50-over action when New Zealand take on Sri Lanka in the first ODI from 10pm on Sky Sports 1.

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