‘We’re Incredibly Proud of What We’ve Achieved’

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum hailed his side after going down by seven wickets to Australia in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup final on Sunday in Melbourne.  McCullum admitted the Australians played better on the day:  ‘It came down to one game.  We gave ourselves that opportunity in this tournament with so much on the line, and ultimately Australia stepped up and they were too good for us on the night.  Look, it’s a credit to them that they were able to do so on a big occasion.  I’m really proud of the guys.  I thought the way that we played throughout this tournament, the brand of cricket that we’ve played, the way we’ve entertained people and I guess left nothing out there in terms of the character and attitude on the field.’

The Black Caps skipper says he has no regrets:  ‘I think it’s been one hell of a ride and something that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.  It would have been great to have got the silverware but it wasn’t meant to be, but I think what we were able to achieve in this tournament will last for a long time.  The friendships we’ve created, the experiences that we’ve had, and I guess the people that we’ve been able to inspire throughout the tournament is something that we’re really proud of.  It’s never nice running second, but sometimes you’ve got to doff your cap to the winner.’

Baggy Greens skipper Michael Clarke is set to quit One Day International cricket in the aftermath of this victory.  McCullum commented on Clarke as well as imminent retirements within his own ranks:  ‘First of all, I think Michael Clarke has been an outstanding cricketer for Australia.  I think his captaincy has been brilliant throughout his tenure.  He deserves to bow out a World Cup winner.  Sometimes there is a bit of romance in this game, and I think there was one of those occasions tonight.  Congratulations to Michael, and he thoroughly deserves the achievements that he’s had.  There may be guys within our group who will retire.  We’ll let the dust settle on this one, and we certainly won’t look to grab any headlines over the next couple days because they belong to Australia and they’ve earned the right to do so.  We’ll let the dust settle.  We’ll be gracious in defeat and then we’ll work a plan over the next couple days for the some guys who may look to retire.  But yeah, I think it’s the right thing to allow Australia to bask in the glory of their success.’

The Dunedin cricketer is hopeful his country can taste success in the future.  He says:  ‘I think the team perhaps will change over the next sort of while, but hopefully the style of cricket and the things that we’ve been able to implement with this team and the brand that we’re trying to play will remain and develop over the next sort of while.  Hopefully that will then filter down to some of our domestic cricket, as well, and we’ll see some youngsters start to play the game and try and play it the same way that we’ve tried to operate through this World Cup.  I guess once you’re in the final, you’ve got yourself an opportunity of winning.  If we can keep making finals, then we’ll win one at some point.’

The New Zealand captain also took time out to laud player of the tournament, Mitchell Starc.  McCullum said:  ‘He was a bit too good for me today, that’s for sure.  Yeah, look, he deserves the man of the tournament for me.  He was outstanding, bowled at good pace, he swung the ball late, and he was incredibly accurate all the way along, as well.  Sometimes in this game, you go in with your best laid plans and your ideal, I guess, scenario of how you see the game panning out.  Sometimes a guy is just too good for you, and that’s the beauty of this game, and that’s why when you do have success you’ve got to enjoy it along the way because it is a contest, and sometimes the other guy is a bit good for you.’