McCullum pleased to leave a resurgent side

New Zealand

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum will play his final two Tests before retirement this month, against Australia, and is happy to be leaving a side behind that has found its feet under his leadership.

McCulum says the past 15 to 20 Tests of his career, which will reach 100 caps in Wellington, have been the highlights for him, as they have gone on a great run of form and become more than a 'dark horse'.

McCullum said on Cricinfo: "The last 15 or 20 Tests have been an incredible part of my life, the changes that we've been able to make, the evolution of the environment and the performances we have started to put up.
"You look back with a sense of pride in what you've been able to achieve with a group of guys. And to be able to play 100 straight Tests as well.
"I'm pretty proud about the longevity and being able to overcome not only injuries and but also the toughness of touring and the ups and downs of performance, and still being able to get back up off the canvas and still warrant place in team.
"That's something I can look back on with a bit of pride."

McCullum will become the first person to play 100 uninterrupted Tests, and he says he's most proud of the way he and coach Mike Hesson have changed the mental aspect of the team, and have them enjoying the game and doing well as a result.

He added: "It's more the mental game which is the hardest thing – where you're doubting yourself, you're not sure whether it's going to be your last Test from a performance or selection point of view.

"It almost takes the pressure off you when you remind yourself that it's meant to be fun, the game. Just go out there and play it for the right reasons. Funnily enough, it's when you let go a little bit is when your performances start to improve a little bit.

"The game has always been about [what happens] in the change-room afterwards, after you've been able to earn a Test win in tough circumstances and you've been able to overcome a very good opposition.

"To be able to sit around and see that a group of guys have achieved something over five days, and to sit around with smiles on their faces, a bit of music going, you've got dirty whites and sweaty black caps and a beer in hand, and you're able to look back on the hard work achieved.

"That's what I got into the game for and that's going to be the last memory of the game as well."