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Retiring McCullum not out for revenge

Cricket

Blacks Caps captain Brendon McCullum has played down revenge as a motivator ahead of their one-day cricket series against Australia, which begins today.

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Game one in Auckland is the first trans-Tasman clash in the 50-over format since Australia cruised to a seven-wicket win in the World Cup final in Melbourne last March.

McCullum says the Black Caps are approaching the series as a separate challenge.

“We had our opportunity in the World Cup and we ran second,” he said.

“It’s a year down the track now and both teams have changed personnel… for us, it’s a three-match series, Chappell-Hadlee on the line and a great opportunity to test our skills against the best.”

The Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, which New Zealand claimed with their World Cup pool victory over Australia in a thriller in Auckland, wasn’t at stake in the final.

So far this summer, the Black Caps have swept the five home series they have played, beating Sri Lanka in all three formats and downing Pakistan in T20s and ODIs.

However, Australia, whom they will also face in two Tests, represent the pinnacle of the season’s domestic programme.

McCullum had no doubts there would be a few nerves among the Black Caps as they walk out on to Eden Park.

“There’s always going to be a few anxieties heading into a big series,” he said.

“It’s just how you can settle yourself as quickly as possible and that will certainly be the message we’ll be stressing.”

The 34-year-old McCullum, who is retiring from international cricket at the end of Australia’s tour, has another message for his players – don’t be distracted by wanting to send him out on a high.

“Just focus on playing the ball – play what’s in front of you,” he said.

“The other stuff is fairytale stuff. It doesn’t count for much once the game gets under way.”

-AAP

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