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Brendon McCullum: The Sachin Tendulkar of T20Is

Brendon McCullum's T20 average is better than his ODI average and close to his Test average. What more can we say? © Getty Images
Brendon McCullum’s T20 average is better than his ODI average and close to his Test average. What more can we say? © Getty Images

On March 29, 2014, Brendon McCullum became the first batsman to complete 2,000 runs in T20Is. He achieved the monumental feat in New Zealand’s victory over the Netherlands in the ICC World T20 2014. McCullum owns almost all of the batting records worth holding in the shortest format of the game. He is simply the Sachin Tendulkar of T20Is, feels Shrikant Shankar.

When one glances through the pages and records of cricket in Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODIs), one name pops up at the very beginning of all the important achievements — Sachin Tendulkar. The Indian legend holds almost all the records worth holding in both the longer forms of the game. Tendulkar is the highest run-scorer in Tests and ODIs. He also has the most centuries and most half-centuries in both formats. And most of these records are at the top by a long distance. Either these records will stand the test of time or it will take a very long time for someone to go past them.

Now that is for Tests and ODIs. When it comes to Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), the synonym of Tendulkar is Brendon McCullum. The current New Zealand captain, like Tendulkar, owns almost all the records worth owing in T20Is.

On March 29, 2014, McCullum completed 2,000 runs in T20Is and is the first batsman to do so. He achieved this monumental feat in New Zealand’s win over the Netherlands in the ICC World T20 2014. Getting to the milestone would have pleased him, but winning the Group 1 Super 10s match would have given McCullum more joy, as New Zealand have a good chance to qualify for the semi-finals now.

Below is a table showing the leading run-scorers in T20Is:

Batsman  Country  M
R
HS
Ave 100s 50s
B  McCullum New Zealand 67 2,044 123 36.50 2 13
M Jayawardene Sri Lanka 52 1,444 100 32.81 1 9
T Dilshan Sri Lanka 58 1,387 104* 29.51 1 9
K Sangakkara Sri Lanka 53 1,325 78 31.54 0 7
D Warner Australia 49 1,324 90* 28.17 0 10
JP Duminy South Africa 53 1,292 96* 36.91 0 7
M Hafeez Pakistan 56 1,278 86 25.05 0 7
C Gayle West Indies 40 1,231 117 34.19 1 11
M Guptill New Zealand 46 1,227 101* 32.52 1 5
U Akmal Pakistan 54 1,220 94 29.04 0 6

Note: Statistics accurate as of March 29, 2014.

Moving on to McCullum’s feat, as on March 29, 2014, he has 2,044 runs. The second after him in the run-making list is Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene with 1,444 — a good 600 runs behind. McCullum also holds the record for most half-centuries in T20Is with 13 to his name. Chris Gayle is in second place and has 11. McCullum is the only batsman to have scored two centuries in the shortest format. His first was against Australia at Christchurch on February 28, 2010 — a score of 116 not out in a victory for New Zealand through the one-over eliminator. The second century was a knock of 123 against Bangladesh on September 21, 2012 at Pallekele in another winning cause.

That also puts him with the most 50-plus scores in T20Is with 15. McCullum has the most fours in T20Is as well with 192 to his credit. But more importantly, McCullum also has the record for the most sixes with 85. Gayle is next with 72. McCullum was also the first batsman to score four consecutive half-centuries in T20Is from 2008 to 2009. His century against Australia is the joint-third fastest in T20Is as it came in 50 deliveries. In all the above mentioned records, McCullum is at the top. He also has the second most appearances in a T20I career with 67 matches to his name. Shahid Afridi has 72.

McCullum has a brilliant strike-rate of 136.26 as well. Now this is not the best by a long-shot, but it is very healthy indeed. His average is 36.50 — higher than what he has in ODIs and just below that of his Test average. All this easily puts him as the first true great of T20 cricket. The format itself is in its infancy and as the years go by, more and more T20 cricket will be played. There will be players who start playing in T20Is from their teenage and may well get into their mid-30s before retiring. McCullum’s records may not stand the test of time. But as of now and for the next few years, Brendon McCullum is the Sachin Tendulkar of T20Is.

ICC World T20 2014 schedule: Match time table with venue details

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(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)

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