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McCullum unlikely to play wicketkeeper again: NZ coach

Reuters
Dec 14, 2013 at 09:20am IST

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Wellington: Captain Brendon McCullum is unlikely to pull on the wicketkeeping gloves again for New Zealand, coach Mike Hesson said on Saturday. The 32-year-old is battling a long-term back injury and has already given up the gruelling role in Test matches, with BJ Watling taking the gloves in the longest form of the game.

McCullum was still performing the role last year in limited overs matches and filled in during the second Test in England in May when Watling was injured. He also played keeper in a one-day match on the recent tour of Bangladesh.

However, specialist Luke Ronchi is being used more frequently in limited overs matches, while batsman Tom Latham, who has appeared for New Zealand in Twenty20 and one-day matches, can also play wicketkeeper if needed.

McCullum unlikely to play wicketkeeper again: NZ coach

The 32-year-old is battling a long-term back injury and has already given up the gruelling role in Test matches.

"He's unlikely to be used as a keeper. I think he's too valuable a player for us to keep using him as a keeper," Hesson said when asked how McCullum's back injury would be managed.

New Zealand have a five-match ODI series and two Twenty20 matches against West Indies following next week's third and final Test in Hamilton.

Local media had reported before the West Indies series that McCullum was contemplating retirement due to the injury and while he had appeared to be having trouble in the first Test in Dunedin, Hesson said McCullum was managing the issue well.

"He is frustrated because he is in the best physical shape he has ever been. His fitness tests have been through the roof as well," Hesson said.

"He's always a bit stiff but it doesn't seem to be affecting his movement too much.

"He's like anyone else, we just keep monitoring him (and) ... he will need to keep working on that maintenance and making sure he's pretty diligent around that.

"He still throws himself around the field and puts himself in compromising positions. So far, so good."

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