McCullum grateful for record-breaking year

New Zealand

New Zealand beat Sri Lanka this week in Christchurch to record their fifth Test win of the year, their best annual haul in Black Caps history, and skipper Brendon McCullum was delighted to give the fans what they wanted.

The Kiwis won by eight wickets at the renovated Hagley Oval, the ground's first Test, and McCullum was thrilled that two years of hard work had paid off in 2014, and coaxed the fans back to the venues.

McCullum explained: "Eighteen or 24 months ago, when we sat down and worked out where we sat after the 45 against South Africa in Cape Town, we knew we had to make changes – not just internally, but from an external point of view, for the public who cared about this team.

"I can only say the guys within the group made those changes. It was essential to all of us that we have the public's support, and the best way to get that is to go out and represent New Zealand with all you've got.

"That's what we've seen over the last 18-24 months: a group of guys who are desperate, enjoy their time playing for this team, and try and make sure their mark on the New Zealand team is substantial.

"We are starting to see that people are coming back to support this team, and that's nice when you sit back and see where we've come from."

He added that the coaching staff had made a huge difference, with Mike Hesson at the helm, and that everyone had a common vision: "Internally, it's a nicely structured team – we've got good support staff.

"We've got guys who are not necessarily old, but who are very experienced and strong leaders within the group as well, and that's quite a nice dynamic to have.

"We couple that with quite an emotionally level group of guys who just want to perform for New Zealand, and you see some fighting characteristics come out.

"I firmly believe that the work we've done is now flowing onto the field. We've been lucky that we've had that instant gratification of results going our way, because then it does confirm to you that what you're doing off the field, and the way you carry yourself as a team and as individuals can then relay to results.

"The way we're operating has been a huge catalyst in our performance, in the respect we're trying to show the game and the people who support this team."

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