McCullum: Sledging doesn’t work for us

New Zealand

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has credited his side's shift in fortunes over the past two years to the fact that they've changed their attitudes, from bemoaning their failures to being positive towards the game.

McCullum told the Telegraph that their run of seven undefeated Test series, and a first World Cup final, has boiled down to changes he and coach Mike Hesson made, letting the players enjoy the game again, play to their strengths, and avoid negativity.

He explained: "I loved playing cricket. As a kid, that’s why I got into the game. Just because there’s more at stake now, doesn't mean you should lose the innocence of why you played the game in the first place.

"For a long time I had lost that, and I think our team had lost that.

"It sounds a bit corny, but we talk about the playful little boy who fell in love with the game. When you have that mindset you can be positive and aggressive. Because you're thinking about what can go right, rather than what might go wrong."

Of their previous mindset, before the mental shift after losing to South Africa 18 months ago, he added: "We just expected the game to owe us something.

"We almost felt entitled because of the fact we were playing international cricket. And the way we played: there was no soul about our cricket.

"That’s an important shift we've made. This group of guys, you'd call them some of them your best mates. You'd be happy to introduce them to anyone of significance, because they're such good people.

"We try and do our best out on the field, but there’s a way you can carry yourself as well, and that’s what we've seen shift."

The Kiwis are notable for their 'nice guy' attitudes as well, and McCullum says verbal sparring did nothing for them, so they try not engage in it: "There’s less frustration, less animosity, and we've played our best cricket, so it’s hard to argue that sledging works for us."