With Brendon McCullum’s largely unexpected retirement coming as a surprise for millions of cricket fans across the globe, the Gentleman’s Game is set to suffer yet another rock fall for the reason that it is going to bid adieu to one of the most flamboyant players to have ever graced the 22 yards.
Two pieces of news have generated enormous nosiness in social media over the past 2 weeks.
- Is it true that human beings are products of ancient hybridization between a boar and a female chimpanzee?
- Why did Brendon McCullum announce his retirement at the age of 34, when he is still capable of playing top-notch cricket for another two to three years?
While the former has misled several scientists around the globe into formulating their own sets of assumptions and postulates, the latter is comparatively more perplexing for the fact that the announcement was made in the wake of New Zealand’s Test series victory over Sri Lanka.
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The Kiwi skipper who hails from Otago, (a southern island of New Zealand, characterised by its rugged topography) has become synonymous with the adjective ‘bravery’ since he made his international debut 13 years ago. Since then, he has won 99 Test caps on a trot; thus becoming the only man to feature in as many consecutive Test matches from the time of debuting in the longest format of the game.
He possesses an astute cricket brain- a prerequisite for a quality Captain. Since he took over the reins of New Zealand’s captaincy in 2012, he has helped the Black Caps ascend to the third rank in both Tests and ODIs whereas they were languishing at the bottom of the Rankings only 4 years ago. He also led the Kiwis to their first ever World Cup final which they lost to their Trans-Tasman rivals. Besides, the 34-year-old has amassed over 13,000 runs in international cricket besides conquering multiple cricketing records such as becoming the second batsman to hit 100 sixes in Test cricket and first to score 2 tons in the history of T20Is.
McCullum has been a fine ambassador of the cricketing fraternity in general and New Zealand cricket in particular. He is someone who always looks to compete on the ground regardless of the situation of the match and waits for the right opportunity to pounce on his opponents with utmost flashiness.
Although he has ended up looking arrogant on several occasions in the past owing to his pompous attitude, he continues to cling to the tested formula which has been fetching him success in his 13-year long career. Hence, it is not surprising that ink and cricket share a common interest in McCullum’s life. By now, all of us must have seen the ‘famous’ tattoo on McCullum’s right arm, stretching from his elbow to his shoulder.
The Kiwi skipper’s right arm is decorated with Roman Numerals CCXXIV, CXXVI and XLII; which when converted to Arabic numbers read 224, 126 and 42 respectively. While 224 and 126 represent his cap numbers in Tests and ODIs respectively, 42 symbolises his jersey number in ODIs. Girls thereby cannot afford to look in any other direction when he arrives at the crease with the bat in hand and the elegant tattoos on his right arm.
Former Australian Captain Steve Waugh pioneered the tradition of players getting the numbers embroidered on their caps. For instance, No. 64 on a cap denotes that the player concerned is the 64th player to have represented his country in that particular format.
Ask McCullum and he will gladly tell you that he is proud to have got those inked on his right limb. “The numbers represent something very special to me because I have always wanted to play cricket for my country. The trimmings are to protect the numbers. Some other players in the team have tattoos but I don’t think anyone else has followed my example’’, McCullum told News 24 Archives 9 years ago.
In contemporary cricket, there are some glaring examples of tattooed players including the likes of Dale Steyn, Michael Clarke, Virat Kohli and Mitchell Johnson but none have as romantic a story engraved on their arms as McCullum. The recently retired Michael Clarke has ‘Carpe Diem’ inked on his body; a Latin aphorism meaning ‘seize the day’.
Yet, McCullum’s association with ink goes depicts a cricketing affair which is expected to stay with him till he breathes his last. That’s ‘signature’ Brendon McCullum for you whose philosophy has always emphasised on ‘leaving an indelible impression on the psyche of cricket enthusiasts’.