McCullum likely to relinquish opening spot in Kiwi batting order

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 16, 2013 07:15 hrs

Brendon McCullum is set to surrender his opening spot in the New Zealand Test team for their home series against England after coach Mike Hesson claimed Kiwi captain's game doesn't suit playing the new ball.

McCullum opened in both of the ignominious defeats to South Africa in the just-completed two-match series, finishing with an average of 20.5 in his four innings, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

McCullum had at first been targeted for the No.4 spot in place of former captain Ross Taylor, who made himself unavailable for the tour.

However, the recalled Peter Fulton, who opened the batting in the build-up fixture against a South Africa XI and was designated to do the job in the Tests, fell victim to a leg injury.

Hesson said that had Fulton been accessible, McCullum would have given firmness to the New Zealand weak middle order.

Ironically, McCullum has a marginally higher average of 35.77 in his 16 Tests as an opener, compared with his 35.12 for all his 72 matches and his highest score of 225 against India in Hyderabad in 2010 also came in that role.

England's tour begins with three Twenty20 and three one-day internationals in February, followed by three Tests in March.

The Black Caps complete their tour of South Africa with three ODIs, the first in Paarl on Saturday. (ANI)

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