Brendon McCullum to play T20 cricket for Ipswich
FORMER New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum will line up for the Ipswich Logan Hornets on Sunday in a stunning coup for local cricket.
McCullum, recognised as one of the best T20 batsmen ever seen on a cricket field and set to star for the Brisbane Heat this season, will play in the Hornets T20 clash with Norths at Ian Healy Oval.
With the Big Bash League on the horizon, several interstate and international Brisbane Heat players have been allocated to Premier Cricket clubs for this weekend's T20 fixtures.
Hornets captain Geoff Paulsen said McCullum's presence would be a huge lift to his side.
"We tried to get him last year through Andy Bichel but he got injured," Paulsen told the QT.
"But having Brendon in our side is going to be great for the boys, just to see how professional cricketers conduct themselves in warm-ups and on game day.
"They can watch his routines and how he goes about his cricket generally."
McCullum has an extraordinary record in the shortest form of the game.
He has played 71 T20 internationals for New Zealand and scored 1571 runs at an average of 35.66 with two centuries. In all T20 fixtures his record stands at 251 games with 6955 runs, an average of 31.32 and seven centuries.
"He changed the way people approach batting," Paulsen said.
"When he bats he's always taken the attack straight up to the opposition and made them adjust to what he is doing."
Paulsen said the young guns in his side could "also realise that when you are playing first grade cricket in Brisbane you are not that far away from being a superstar like he is."
Australian Test star David Warner had played minimal first grade cricket when he made his international debut in a T20 international.
"And even in recent times, Matt Renshaw had only played one full season of first grade cricket in Brisbane and the next season he is playing in a Test match," Paulsen said.
Paulsen said there were several aggressive young Ipswich batsmen in his side who would get plenty out of playing with McCullum.
"Anthony Wilson is very free and hits the ball hard," he said.
"He's a left hander and he's got a really good game plan and knows where his strengths are, which is hitting the ball straight.
"Like McCullum, if the ball is there to hit from ball one he will hit it, especially in the Twenty20 format.
"We've also got young left handed batsman Ben Maynard who is still at Ipswich Grammar School, and he's playing on the weekend.
"I'm sure he will get a huge buzz out of playing with Brendon. Most of our guys are 20 or under so it is going to be a great experience for all of them.
"All the boys are very excited about it."
Paulsen said having players like McCullum line up with local teams was a terrific concept and would only make the competition stronger.
McCullum will fly into Brisbane on Friday night and will likely open the innings for the Hornets.
He is keen to fire.
"I understand Brendon is coming back from back surgery so he'll want to have a good hit-out and spend some time in the middle," Paulsen said.
*Sunday's clash begins at 10am at Ian Healy Oval